Public architecture generates much-needed junctions and nodes that enable people to assemble, dwell, and reorient themselves within their neighboring urban context. Whether a park, library, museum, exhibition space, and government office, public spaces can present an important release from the pace of urban life, building refreshing experiences and events for users to enjoy. Public spaces are an essential asset to our cities. They present people with many opportunities to gather and engage with the community. If public spaces are thriving they are inclusive of the diversity of societies existing in our cities and create a social space for everyone in the community to participate in. Here are a few examples of modern public spaces that provide new activities and relief in our daily lives and improve our lives by offering new perspectives in otherwise mundane and routine life.
1. El Bosque de la Esperanza, Colombia.
Enveloped by shanty townships in the sprawling capital of Bogotà, Colombia, a tree-like architectural composition has grown above the city’s streets. El Bosque de la Esperanza – or Hope Forest – is a sports center created to engage residents and foster a more tight-knit neighborhood. Designed by Giancarlo Mazzanti, this new center is a configuration of interconnected rectilinear shapes that form a canopy held by columns, resembling a group of dense trees. The team infers that the structure is a representation of “nature, union and hope” for the community, and believes that the new center can be a catalyst for an assertive development.
2. Floating Movie Theater, Thailand.
A German architect operating in Beijing, Ole Scheeren, took his skills to Thailand to reveal a marvelous floating movie theater off the island of Kudu Noi, near the resort island of Phuket. Scheeren’s Archipelago Cinema consists of a floating screen, that sits between two towering rocks, and a separate raft-like amphitheater, offering the users a refined and unpredictably beautiful cinematic experience. The stage and screen, backed by columns rising out of the water, were part of the annual Film on the Rocks Yao Noi Festival.
3. Superkilen Urban Park, Copenhagen
Situated just north of Copenhagen’s city center, Superkilen is a 1-kilometer linear and long park nestled in the diverse Nørrebro neighborhood. The design originated as a proposed design competition by the City of Copenhagen and the Realdania Foundation as a method to establish a distinct identity in both the local and global context. Designed by BIG (Bjarke Ingels Group), Topotek1, and Superflex the park comprises three distinct zones: red square, black square, and green park. Upon exploration, visitors discover numerous pop and cultural artifacts sourced from the resident’s native countries.
4. Trampoline of 170 feet, Russia
A trampoline of 52 meters feet was designed for Archstoyanie, a Russian festival, by Salto Architects. Utilizing the framework of an installation of a road as a path, the project examines and questions the notion of infrastructure which usually focuses on technical and functional aspects, tending to become imperceptible nearby. ‘Fast track’ is an effort to create understanding interactive spaces that emotionally answer to its local context, giving the user a diverse experience of their surroundings by movement.
5. Festina Lente, Bosnia, and Herzegovina
This unusual little bridge in Sarajevo is the idea of three Bosnian product design students in response to a tender issued five years ago. Just concluded, the Festina Lente bridge translates as ‘to make haste slowly’. The bridge has been described by its designers Adnan Alagic, Bojan Kanlic, and Amila Hrustic as ‘lightweight, agile and adaptable’ and is swiftly receiving media attention across the world.
6. National Kaohsiung Centre for the Arts, Taiwan
Stimulated by the welcoming, protective shape of the banyan tree, the National Kaohsiung Centre for the Arts presents a space for cultural activities, combining exhibition halls, theaters, and public plazas below a single, curved roof. This canopy creates the conceptual framework of the project with one side dipping to the ground to form an outdoor amphitheater. Curved walls inside expand and contract to create organic and varied spaces of gathering and engagement.
7. Schaustelle, Munich, Germany
The “Schaustelle” is an enormous scaffolding framework, an experiential exhibition space. It includes a three-dimensional work of fluid and structural elements produced using symmetrical and corner to corner metal bars. Since these modules are triangulated, they retain their shape and some of them can be cantilevered. The rectangular framework is in the range of forty meters in length by fifteen meters wide and just about twenty meters high. On the ground floor is a façade of translucent boards describing the name of the space in large capital letters. There is a two-story multi-use corridor as well. This facade is around 200 and eighty square meters and can be used as a presentation or display space or for exhibitions, workshops, or different sorts of social events.
8. Redevelopment of the Old Port, France
The redesign of the Old Port clears the docks from visual and physical barriers. This makes the boats accessible for all residents for various recreational activities. The first phase of the redevelopment work addressed various problems of vehicular transport from the 12,000 square meters occupied by the port’s three wharves, which are now uniformly covered with the pale rocks that almost correlates to the original cobblestones. The focal point is a structure that provides shade from the sun beneath the Grande Ombrière, which is a rectangular screen of 1,000 sqm. It can also be utilized for extensive gatherings.
9. Oxygen Park by AECOM, Qatar
A man-made “green lung” settled in Doha, Oxygen Park is an unusual public space intended to improve the health and wellbeing in a desert habitat. The park presents an open space to exercise, relax, and play. The park’s design is stimulated by nature with pathways and running tracks rooted in the topography to produce an exciting and stimulating space of looping tracks, cooled tunnel segments, and abrupt hills. The “balloon lights” float above the ground that makes the park noticeable from afar, creating a focal point. As the name implies, Oxygen Park brings life into Doha by encouraging social interaction and promoting vibrant, healthy lifestyles.
10. Metropol Parasol, Sevilla, Spain
Metropol Parasol examines the potential of the Plaza de la Encarnación to transform into a new urban focus. Its sole role is to perform as an unusual urban space inside the thick texture of the medieval town of Seville that considers an incredible variety of uses like character, business, and recreation. An unusual infrastructure stimulates the square, presenting it as a city-level public space for tourists and locals. The canopy is made of timber and extends to an archeological exhibition hall, a farmer’s market, an elevated plaza, several bars, and cafés below and inside the shade, at the top, the canopy offers a marvelous view of Sevilla.