Polytechnic University of Valencia Congress, 24th ISUF 2017 - City and Territory in the Globalization Age

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Between territories: Incremental changes to the domestic spatial interface between private and public domains
Agnieszka Wir-Konas, Kyung Wook Seo

Last modified: 14-05-2018


Between territories: Incremental changes to the domestic spatial interface between private and public domains.

Agnieszka Wir-Konas¹, Kyung Wook Seo¹

¹Department of Architecture and Built Environment, Northumbria University, Newcastle upon Tyne. Newcastle City Campus, 2 Ellison Pl, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 8ST.

E-mail: agnieszka.wir-konas@northumbria.ac.uk, kyung.seo@northumbria.ac.uk

Keywords (3-5): building-street interface, incremental change, micro-morphology, private-public boundary, territory

Conference topics and scale: Urban form and social use of space


In this paper we investigate incremental changes to the relationship between private and public territory on the micro-morphological scale of the residential building-street interface. The building-street interface lies on the edge between two distinctively different spatial domains, the house and the street, and provides a buffer which may be adjusted to aid the transition from private to public territory. The structure of the space impacts both domains: it provides a fit transition from the private dwelling to the public territory, creates a space for probabilistic encounters between inhabitants and strangers, and maintains the liveability of the public street. The aim of this paper is threefold: Firstly, we recognise morphological differences in the structure of the interfaces and the way the transition from private to public territory was envisioned and designed in different societal periods. Secondly, we study incremental changes to the interface, representing individual adjustments to the private-public boundary, in order to recognize common types of adaptations to the existing structure of the interface. The history of changes to each individual building and building-street interface was traced by analysing planning applications and enforcements publicly provided by the city council. Lastly, we compare the capacity of each building-street interface to accommodate incremental change to the public-private transition. We argue that studying the incremental change of the interface and the capacity of each interface to accommodate micro-scale transformations aids in the understanding of the complex social relationship between an individual and a collective in the urban environment.


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