Open Space in the Vertical City

2016 | Studio Professor: Tatiana Bilbao | TAs: Gabriela Álvarez, Laura Buck

Urban open spaces- parks, plazas, squares, sidewalks, etc; open-air land or water bodies that are outside of the home or workspace that create opportunities for interaction and contact among people. They are historically essential components of the city as places for leisure, and for the gathering and distribution of information.

Public open space is the nexus of the city- it breaks the city’s spatial homogeneity and provides welcomed nodes for planned interactions and chance encounters. It is a place for contemplation and for festivities. It is your living room, back garden, and your stoop by the sidewalk where you play, rest, work, eat, and read- the possibilities are endless.

Current models of urban open spaces are two-dimesional. Parks and plazas alike remain in the horizontal realm. Modern dwellings are increasingly verticalized- when designs are mostly dictated by spatial and cost efficiency, the lack of space deprives occupants the opportunity to form communities. In the increasingly densified city that is growing relentlessly upwards, how could open spaces adapt to suit a vertical world? How could architecture invoke a sense of nature?

This project reimagines public open spaces in the neighborhood scale and in an elemental scale. I will interpret Jane Jacob’s four tenets of good park design: intricacy- provision of variety; centering- focal points; enclosure- definite shape; sun- exposure to light, to propose a system of how to plan an open space in the vertical neighborhood.