Public Square Studio

American common space is in a state of flux. As demographics shift, technologies advance, cultural mores morph, and economies + politics churn, our cherished public spaces are becoming obsolete empty vessels of nostolgia. How can architects and urban desingers alter these spaces to accomodate the new and ever-changing character of American public space? This is the question that Kent State University's CUDC Fall 2006 Graduate Studio will investigate.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Impending Final Reviews 8 December 2006

The Public Square Studio is nearing an end. The three groups are participating in final documentation, model building, diagramming, and rhetorical editing in these final days.

The three groups are interested and speculating about these subjects and how they are motivated within a re-constituted Public Square:

1. Spectacle enhancement, harvesting, and deployment in concert with city infrastructures
2. Intellectual Grazing Fields
3. Disseminated modulated Intensities, Armatures, Landscapes, and Programs

Please look for posted images, discussion points, notions, and debates later next week.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006


Post mid-term, the Intellectual Grazing Field was trying to define itself-in architecture and in concept. The object building was struggling for its place within the field condition created on the ground plan and finally manifested itself as a large auditorium with classrooms ( as a concentration of the University Program on the square ). The Intellectual Exchange Points were defined as points of "Reflection", "Discussion" and "Lecture" and correspond to one person, more than one person and one person addressing a large group. This defined the Intellectual loop. Hence there were conversation pits, reflection pits and classrooms scattered on the square. The final outcome became a very heirarchical concept of built form on the ground plan of the square. After last friday's review, we will look at more ground plan patterns and options where these patterns transform into architecture, taking the form of the programmatic requirements of our University and Intellectual Grazing Field!

Sunday, November 19, 2006

An interesting dialogue began to shape between the three juries this past Friday. Each group presented three completely different trajectories for reaching a possible design. The first group was engulfed in a series of diagramming in which they would create a diagram, extract possible conceptual frameworks from that diagram, then proceed to re-diagram. This cycle of post-rationalizing diagrammatic processes without any kind of preconceived 'goal' pushed the designers to continuously reconceptualize their project in unpredicted ways. However, this cyclic process could continue indefinitely without producing design. The point of departure towards actualization of a conceptual framework is therefore extremely important, as was suggested by the jury. The second group initially devised a 'goal' (unlike the first group) and have been working towards an actualization of that concept. Pragmatic problems have dampered the actualization of this concept, whereas a move towards abstraction or diagramming (away from the pragmatic concerns of the project) could have been useful (as suggested by the jury). The third group represented the time-tested way of producing architecture. Working within a somewhat vague conceptual framework, the designers have produced a very pragmatic and willful design which addresses many of the complicated and contradictory pragmatic issues of the site. The jury recommended a re-focusing of the initial conceptual framework. None of the three presented trajectories are 'right,' but all offer advantages and disadvantages, which were all very explicitly noted by the jurors. We'll see where the trajectories end by the final jury.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006


Midterm Jury:
The main points of dialogue at the midterm jury were:
1. What could be extracted from the series of density diagrams?
2. Where the diagrams analytic or synthetic?
3. How could the diagrams represent intensity rather than aggregation?
4. What did these diagrams say about American public space?
5. What kind of values are we, as the designers, placing on American public space?

Following the jury, our main focus has been investigating intensities, both linear and field intensities. The aggregations of 'density' in the previous diagrams have been replaced by increased or decreased intensities. The next step in our investigations will be to videotape how Clevelanders use public space now, and we will diagram those intensities. Then, rather than strictly apply those densities to our proposal, we will begin to look at ways to extract particular aspects of the intensities, which may or may not align with the intensities themselves. How these specific aspects juxtapose with the general intensities will then determine programmatic or event locations. Then, as we begin to narrow the extent of our original density fluctuation diagrams, we will focus on particular changes throughout the course of a day, and how certain ammenities or program can change throughout the day, affecting the way Americans use public space.


At the midpoint of the semester, our proposal for public square centered around the concepts of transportational infrastructure and spectacle. We consolidated the bus stops into one bus terminal and constructed the "showcase tube" which is a type of public market which makes extensive use of imagery. While this design seemed to be the culmination of our precedent studies, it leaves much to be resolved. In general, it does not integrate well into the city, among other problems. With each design iteration, the problem of remaking Public Square gets more and more complex. Our team is now heading into a more intentional phase of design in which the necessities of context and progam are taking a leading role in the informing of design moves while the knowledge culled from the precedent studies is taking on a more static role as a framework or point of reference on which to build upon.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Friday, October 13, 2006

Downsview+University of Virginia+Walmart+Parc de la Villette+Loyola Law School+Generic City=The new American Public Space!!!
Todd and I are trying to superimpose or juxtapose the phases and adapting program of Downsview,the pavilions, hotels and central common green of University of Virginia,efficient distribution of the Walmarts, systems of points and lines from La Villette, intermediate interaction spaces,colors of Loyola Law School and "absolutely nothing" from Koolhaas' Generic City!!
As we look back at our precedent studies, we create an "Intellectual Grazing Field" at Public Square,Cleveland.Creating an atmosphere of learning,exchange of ideas for the learned; also creating more opportunities for the intellectual milieu of Cleveland!A plunge from the historical grazing field at Public Square into the futuristic "Intellectual Grazing Field"- a reinvented public space+university campus!!!

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

After being paired up with my partner, we underwent a series of studies in which we combined design tactics from our six case studies and applied them to public square. Our case studies are as follows: Central Park, Kahn's traffic studies of Philadelphia, Boston's City Hall, Millennium Park in Chicago, Chicago's Century of Progress Exhibition, and Piccadilly Circus in London. Of all tactics and characteristics obtained through the study of these precedents, a few seemed most prevalent to us: the concept of spectacle and the use of infrastructure. For the time being, we are using these two ideas as the framework for our design of Public Square.