Editorial material

  • Elena Grigoryeva

    After the Public Spaces (PB 35), it is the right time to speak about fences. Space and fencing. We, the members of the editorial board, probably suffer from an acute form of agoraphilia – the love for an open space, a wide and open world made us talk about it (82). Our cities suffer from agoraphobia, a fear of open spaces, and its complication – fencephilia.

    Chekhov’s claustrophobia brought him to Sakhalin and gave widely cited descriptions to many Siberian cities. Irkutsk, unlike Tomsk, for example, was called “a cultured city… Almost Europe!” But not every Irkutsk citizen knows that this quotation is cut short. When using the word ‘cultured’, the writer meant the absence of...

Short articles

Articles

  • Open spaces are ‘backbones’ of the city, important places of communication and identification of the urban society. In an era of increasing privatization and commercialization of urban spaces the design of public spaces remains as one of the most important responsibilities for the municipality. The article discusses possibilities for improving public spaces in Irkutsk. Three conceptional approaches – 1: Network of public spaces, 2: Integration of different interests, 3: Encouraging special features and spatial identity – by presenting international best practices (e.g. from Dresden, Cleveland, Oulu) are recommended as approach for sustainable city development.

  • In the 20th century, the Dutch city of Rotterdam was radically transformed from a historic town into a modern city, becoming the selfacclaimed 'city of architecture', home to international architectural design offices, publishers and institutions. Although it is already 60 years after the destruction of the Rotterdam inner city, the city still struggles to be the vibrant, rigorous urban environment it needs to be in order to attract the so-called creative class.

    This article provides a contextual overview of the transformations of a number of key public spaces that are symbolic for the challenges the city faces. After the post-war reconstruction the city...

  • The article attempts to identify a symbolical sense of the fence as an element of city semantics. Methods of the analysis of the sense of the word "fence" and its derivatives in Russian and the analysis of examples from architecture and town planning history are used.

    It is shown that the fence possesses not only a delimitative, but also offensive and aggressive sense. The fence means a border between different ways of life, each of which seeks to take away a vital space from the neighbor. The fence-wall literally divides sites with different structures of life. The fence-sign, the fence-notional border divides the areas protected from each other by the law. At last, the...

  • The article studies historical and modern aspects of design and building of small architectural forms (fences, gates, wicket doors, retaining walls and partially – bridge fences) in many regions of the Russian North and other regions of Russia. This work is based on the author’s investigations of the great number of monuments of wooden architecture during the visit to several regions of Russia in connection with preparation of the Collection of Monuments and the building of open-air museums in the Vologda and Arkhangelsk regions (“Malye Korely”). The author suggests her own systematization of the above-mentioned constructions, most of which have eventually become monuments of folk...

  • Walls in different cultural environments have different meaning. While this differs only gradually in western culture, in Chinese culture, they often have a very different meaning. Walls and the gates as the crossing points have a long tradition that dates back to the ancient empire. This cultural heritage has been used and adapted over the course of time, adding layer over layer and become integral part of both Chinese tradition and the contemporary Chinese city.

  • Every city has its unique urban context including the objects that form the historical environment of the city; the material elements represented by buildings, constructions, sculptural and architectural forms, elements of spatial surroundings of monuments and terraced houses; the atmosphere, the landscape elements, and the visage as an element expressing the real nature of the visual object, that is the city space (the open space “enclosed” by material elements).

    The city of Dresden is not an exception. In its district Blasewitz, one of the most important aspects of urban context is expressed by the fences of the Gründer Epoch. These pompous and fine...

  • The need for safety leads to an increasing fencing of entrance areas and to a structural spatial segregation in Rio de Janeiro. Today’s passerby moves along high grids instead of walking on lavishly planted ways along noble entrance areas. In the scale of urban development the stronger variant of spatial demarcation is taking place. Gated communities arise as a total spatial exclusion, in a safe distance to existing favelas and disposing of abundant safety equipment.

    Precisely because the need for safety is important in dwelling, both trends are problematic from the urban perspective. The increasing fencing and demarcating destroys pleasant urban atmospheres and fosters the...

  • In Japan, there is an inclination towards obscuring the demarcation between the private and the public space. The high palisades surrounding “skya” style constructions enclose the gardens where the low fences line the vegetation.

    In the religious domain, the palisades that separate the sacred space from the secular space, called “tama-gaki”, are found neighbouring “koran” style fences.

    Stone can sometimes be used as part or only component of the barrier.

    The barriers and palisades in Japan are utilized to hide the buildings and gardens from the public space, but they stay entirely as art works in which the carpenters of the archipelago put sense of aesthetic and...