This book explores the relationship between architecture and philosophy through a discussion on threshold spaces linking public space with publicly accessible buildings. It explores the connection between exterior and interior and how this creates and affects interactions between people and the social dynamics of the city.
Building on an existing body of literature, the book engages with critical philosophy and discusses how it can be applied to architecture. In a similar vein to Walter Benjamin’s descriptions of the Parisian Arcades in the nineteenth century, the book identifies the conditions under which thresholds reveal and impact social life. It utilises a wide range of illustrated international case studies from architects in Japan, Norway, Finland, France, Portugal, Italy, the USA, Australia, Mexico, and Brazil. Within the examples, thresholds become enhancers of social interactions and highlight broader socio-political contexts in public and private space.
Architecture of Threshold Spaces is an enlightening contribution to knowledge on contemporary architecture, politics and philosophy for students, academics, and architects.
Table of Contents
Part I. Thresholds: some theoretical background
Chapter 1: Threshold spaces are singular spaces
Chapter 2: Threshold spaces express dialectics and can be political
Chapter 3: First observations on Threshold Architecture—potential for emancipation
Part II. Thresholds of buildings of different functions
Chapter 4: Thresholds in cultural architecture
Chapter 5: Thresholds of services areas and retail shops
Chapter 6: Thresholds in architecture for age-specific groups
Chapter 7: Public space as threshold space
Chapter 8: Thresholds around semi-private Pockets in public space
Part III. Constraints to the existence of thresholds and proposals of resistance strategies
Chapter 9: Thresholds in the context of security strategies
Chapter 10: Thresholds in the context of excessive morality or denial of social practices
Chapter 11: Thresholds in the context of homogenisation of space
Chapter 12: A critique of homogenisation and segregation
Part IV. Towards a concept of Threshold Architecture
Chapter 13: Artworks in public space: the role of Thresholds
Chapter 14: Design principles of Threshold Architecture, and theoretical implications
Chapter 15: Implications of threshold spaces for communities
Laurence Kimmel is a Lecturer at the Faculty of Built Environment at the University of New South Wales. She is an architect (MArch, École Nationale Supérieure d'Architecture de Lyon, 1998) and a philosopher of architecture (PhD, University Paris 10 Nanterre, 2006). Her research focuses on boundaries and gradients between public and private space. Her book Architecture as Landscape (2010) describes experiences of architectures as a succession of heterogeneous spaces of different statuses, and shows how architectural shapes mediate the perception of adjacent spaces and the landscape. The objects of her research cover architecture, artworks, landscape architecture, and urban planning, all of which she analyses in a cross-disciplinary way. Her research also addresses the notion of "critical practice": architects who consider and express tensions, paradoxes or contradictions of the socio-political context in their practice.