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Design Brief- Social Spaces within Society check Paper

Words: 1298, Paragraphs: 21, Pages: 5

Paper type: Essay , Subject: Psychology

Social Spaces Within Society


Student Name: Eva Millward

Student Number: 10579712

ARC409- CC4.1

Word count: 993


Abstract: 3

Introduction: 3

Social Spaces within Space: 3- 5

Conclusion: 5-6

Bibliography: 7

Proformas: 8- 19

Lecture notes: 20- 34

Workshop notes: 35- 36


This essay will look at how spaces effect society. This concept will be addressed through the investigation into precedents, with the main inspiration of Aldo van Eyck’s Nieuwmarkt Playground (Amsterdam, 1968) and how this space was used. This exploration will be supported by architects/architectural groups such as; Herman Hertzberger and Spatial Agency. This will provide an analysis of how they shaped Project 04 at Riverside Community Primary. The thematic I will be focusing on is site and context, more specifically, the micro thematic of social spaces which was introduced to us within our critical context lecture.


31222951778000Within Project 04 my team and I were set the task of constructing a child-friendly learning environment that creates a suitable relationship between the child and the settings surrounding them. This included the use of recycled and donated materials, predominantly wood. The site, at hand, was an unused area on the school site. This area provided us with the opportunity to create an environment which will be a catalyst for opening the child’s mind for imagination and creativity with the use of a simple design, taking inspiration from Aldo van Eyck’s Nieuwmarkt Playground (Amsterdam, 1968) who focused on unutilised areas. This led to a logical thematic of social spaces. There is a clear link between post-war architecture and the learning journey within social spaces. This similarity is shown partly by the regeneration of spaces as well as the effect these new spaces had on people e.g. their mood both post-war and now.

Social Spaces within Space

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My projects design was based on the teaching staff suggesting a play/ learning zone which exposed the children to risks, with supervision, as well as our architectural design being able to “facilitate human activity and promote social interaction.”


3557905000The main influence, within this project, was Aldo van Eyck’s intertwining of; contemporary minimalism, the regeneration of spaces between space and its relationship to the people. These aspects are shown in many of his projects, for example his Nieuwmarkt playground in Amsterdam which was built after WW2. Aldo van Eyck’s Nieuwmarkt playground involved; a set of three curved wooden structures, a sandbox and wooden stepping stones. The stepping stones and sandbox, in my opinion, would be considered focal points e.g. two main areas that the children would be attracted towards. Focal points within a social space also provide an easier interaction due to a main subject to discuss, a shared interest. The curved wooden forms created multiple paths for them to follow, all three structures providing a cross- over, meaning there would be a greater amount of opportunity for social interaction. Demerijn said “In 1947, the architect Aldo van Eyck built his first playground […] architecture that literally aimed to give space to the imagination.” When we enable space to have imagination it allows users to investigate for themselves. Through this, people/ children become much more creative within a social space. “One characteristic of van Eyck’s playgrounds is that, although located in a city, they were never fenced.” I wanted to interlink this concept into our project due to it being a constant open space which allowed for social interaction at all times. The constant movement of bodies and an inviting energy is because of adults and children being eager to learn and curious to do so. The site is multifunctional, both as a place for the children to learn as well as a place to play. Herman Hertzberger’s focus was also on children’s play zones. Hertzberger’s Montessori Primary School in Holland is a great example of encouraging social spaces and attempting to solve social problems within a school context. The social problem, in my opinion, being a lack of exposure to things such as conflicts between students. Similarly, to van Eyck, he was also part of the technocratic solution. Hertzberger’s project however was on a smaller scale to that of Aldo van Eyck who produced a network of playgrounds across unutilised areas across Amsterdam (figure 3). Although the projects were of a different scale, both architects achieved the aim they set out for, this being a specific area for any age of society to come together.


Hertzberger’s aim was to draw people back towards the unutilised areas. Hertzberger said he wanted to have an essence of “Interrupting the unity” within the school’s atmosphere. Much like our fire pit, all the school could gather there to interact with other “classroom- groups.” Hertzberger took advantage of the spaces by fitting his architecture into the surroundings. This would bring society in and fulfil a need within the population; an area to come together. This being much like his predecessor Aldo van Eyck with the post-war playgrounds at a time of bereavement (as mentioned in the previous paragraph).

3697393108331000Although our project is not post-war, the need for social spaces is just as important for the development of children and people as a whole. Furthermore, authors at Spatial Agency suggested Lina Bo Bardi focused on architecture that was important to the people. Bardi focused on how the architecture could be used as well as “the preservation of the city’s popular soul” In the future my project could become a cultural hub, for the school due to it being unique to the site and the children (school society) having some part in its development, much like the works of Lucien Kroll.

So, how did our installation benefit socially from the research into these architects/ architectural groups? It was by their focus, just like all the architects mentioned the people were the driving force to maintain and create architecturally significant buildings; The children were involved in the planning process by producing drawings to communicate their ideal design, making it personal and valuable to them this included the focus of a fire pit. As part of our design we introduced two places in which to access the centre of the fire pit, which we considered a focal point, thus giving the children an increased opportunity for them to meet and encourage resultant socialisation (refer to figure 3).

Social spaces and interaction play a big part in the reconstruction of both society, spaces and the fulfilment of young people’s growth. I have come to realise this through the influences of Aldo van Eyck and Hertzberger who portrayed these qualities in several of their projects. The design in which we have constructed offers a way for the school children to grow socially in an outdoor environment. After researching these architects, it has made me aware to the importance of social architecture and how influential it is on people’s lives.

Bibliography a-z

Hertzberger, Herman. ‘Montessori Primary School in Delft, Holland.’ Harvard Educational Review: December 1969, Vol. 39, No. 4, pp. 58-67. [28th December 2018]

Kozlovsky, Roy. ‘Adventure playgrounds and postwar reconstruction.’ Designing modern childhoods: History, space, and the material culture of children (2008): 171-190. [23rd December 2018]

Lange, Alexandra. ‘Book Report: Aldo van Eyck, from playground to orphanage’. [Online] [27th December 2018]

‘Lina Bo Bardi.’ [Online] [28th December 2018]

Mayoral-Campa, Esther Pozo-Berna Melina. ‘From the Classroom to the City. Urban Archetypes in Herman Herzberger’s Primary Schools’ Proyecto, Progresso, Arquitectura, 01 November 2017, Vol.17(8), pp.100-115 [26th December 2018]

Noell, Matthias. ‘Zwischen Wohnung und Stadt. Aldo van Eyck und die Suche nach einer humanen und poetischen Architektur.’ (2018): 209-232.

Oudenampsen, Merjin. ‘Aldo van Eyck And the City as the Playground’. [Online] . [28th December 2018]

Strauven, Francis. ‘Aldo van Eyck. Shaping the New Reality from the In-between to the Aesthetics of Number.’ Study Centre Mellon Lectures. California: College of the Arts 24(2007). [27th December 2018]

van Laur, Tristan. ‘Case Study: van Eyck’s Playground’ Bridge, [Online] [4th January 2019]

Withagen Rob, Caljouw Simone R. ‘Aldo van Eyck’s Playgrounds: Aesthetics, Affordances, and Creativity’ Frontiers in Psychology, vol. 8, 2017, doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2017.01130. [26th December 2018]

About the author

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