Spaces functioning differently at day, noon, and night? Umm, why not. With the rising urban population and scares, land, effective and efficient use of the available spaces seems to be the right option. Multifunctional spaces can be described as a true integration of different functions at a different time in the same place. The versatility in urban spaces can contribute to the vitality of shaping urban growth by creating multipurpose places for a community. These spaces then appeal to diverse communities like activists, artists, academicians, entrepreneurs, etc. opening opportunities for new exchange of ideas, knowledge, experiences, and empowerment acting beyond boundaries. 

Following are few architectural examples of multifunctional buildings and spaces with their impact on the urban context

1. High Line

Location – New York
Architect – Diller Scofidio + Renfro
Landscape Architect – James Corner Field Operations
Garden Designer – Piet Oudolf
Type – Adaptive reuse multifunctional Public Park
Year – 2009

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Top view of the pedestrian stretch (©metro primary
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Interlaced hardscape and softscape with seating and pathway (©
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Green escape amid the urban construction (©

The High line is a 2.33km (1.45mi) elevated adaptive reuse linear garden from a disused southern viaduct section of the New York Central railroad’s west sideline. The idea was started by young citizens with no prior experience in development with collaboration with neighbors, officials, artists, local business owners, architects, and leaders to create a socially vibrant and ecologically sound public space for locals.   

Ample entry and exit points with seating, pauses, water features, natural vegetation, and a calm environment overlooking the chaos attracts people during any time of the day. This Public Park and recreational space can hold a gathering, meetups, and hangouts for recreation, fitness encouraging community interactions. The design seamlessly flows with natural wild seeding landscapes with grating and stone pavement strips grown after the line was abandoned. 

2. Brooklyn Boulders

Location – Somerville, USA
Architect – Arrowstreet, Chris Ryan
Type – Adaptive reuse multifunctional community and fitness center
Year – 2013

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Rock climbing wall (©
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Central community space modified to host music nights (©
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Mezzanine floor with seating and table as co working space (©

Brooklyn Boulders is designed in neglected places with colorful walls in old factories and unused places to create community spaces with rock climbing, gyms, and co-working spaces which can also be used for community concerts, gatherings, and events. It was an attempt to create a vertically innovative hive for youth to work, live, play, and create together further establishing a shared economy ecosystem for human capital. Timed sessions with a variety of activities encouraging students and youth for self-healing activities.

The place is uniquely multifunctional also with its furniture with seating, pull up bars, and hooks all usable for fitness as well as set modification accessories. The loud, vibrant, charged with energy is the vibe artists, musicians, and painters run up too, also making and usually revamping the space giving it a new look often.

3. Asia Culture Centre

Location – Gwangju, South Korea
Architect – Kyu Sung Woo Architects
Type – Multifunctional Centre
Year – 2015

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Aerial Photo of the Cultural Centre (©
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Architectural physical model (©
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Axonometric view of the entire site (©

Asia Culture Centre (ACC) is sited in Gwangju, at the site of the historic May 18 uprising that led to Korean democracy. The project is conceived as a memorial and public city park seamlessly weaving through the fabric of the city with museums, exhibition space, library, performance areas, garden, amphitheater, research, and development, etc. acting as a whole for a part and apart for a whole. The design for the culture center uses ample natural light for energy efficiency breaking out into nature at various places. The roof is curated as  a ‘green roof’ to keep the place cool and calm being a green buffer within the city. 

The project is sponsored by the Korean Ministry of Culture and was won through a UIA approved international open competition in 2005. The project named ‘forest of light ‘ a generous oasis in the hustle and bustle of the vibrant commercial district for multipurpose use on various public occasions. 


The understanding of multiple functions at various occasions in numerous ways is now being appealing, accepted, and appreciated with the smallest of the furniture details to the largest of public urban interventions widely designed with this versatility approach contributing to creating vibrant and useful neighborhoods 24×7 increasing human interaction and safety.  


RuchiKumbhani is currently a final year B. Arch student at PVP College of Architecture, Pune. She is a curious mind & travel enthusiast. With few days of intense binge indoors to days of cycling outdoor, she loves to observeinterrelationship of different settings/spaces and penning her thoughts over it.