Muñoz Aparici / Activating Publicness through Spatial Design:

Activating Publicness through Spatial Design: A Comparative Case Study of Stony Island Arts Bank (Chicago, US) and Zuid. Boijmans van Beuningen (Rotterdam, NL).

Author: Mar Muñoz Aparici, TU Delft

Supervisor: Roberto Cavallo, Dr. ir., TU Delft

Research stage: PhD Intermediate Stage

Category: Paper


Public space is assumed to have a degree of publicness; however, publicness is not a given. Publicness is defined by the dimensions of accessibility, management and inclusiveness (Li et al., 2022). These overlapping dimensions include material and immaterial manifestations that either attract citizens to enter, act and interact or repel them. Spatial design –the intersection between architecture, urbanism, arts and media– can greatly influence a space’s publicness. However, some publicness dimensions are generally elusive to current design methods. Architectural design often focuses on the physical accessibility and operational management of public space leaving immaterial publicness as a desirable but uncontrollable side effect. The current paper uses the cases of Stony Island Arts Bank and Zuid. Boijmans Van Beuningen to extract design strategies that activate publicness in public space. These design strategies show possible approaches to activating publicness in cultural public space adaptive reuse.