The existing common spaces of the socialist architecture and urban environment were programmed as monofunctional and closed environments in sync with modernist ideas, therefore, the natural gatherings or unexpected encounters weren’t prone to happen. Obviously, the social encounters were not promoted and the loss of common space made us divided.
To identify the attributes that make common spaces a more promising catalyst for social interaction (potential gathering places).
Concept of gathering space
The ‘gathering space’ was chosen for the research as an umbrella term with a view to defining a certain type of space in architecture or urban environment that acts as a main place for social interaction and offers diverse functions (interests). The type of space varies according to the typology of the case.
Three different scales – apartment, kindergarten and neighbourhood – case studies were analysed identifying the amount of various interests in their spaces. The core – main gathering space – was indicated as a space, where most of the interests intersect. For example, the living room in the apartment, entrance – courtyard in the kindergarten or street in the neighbourhood. According to the amount of the interests the heatmap of the analysed cases were created. The amount of the interests differ in each example, depending on the scale of the analysed case. Therefore, the concentration of interest was indicated in the gradient panel.
the least amount interests
the most amount of interests
Each case was analysed individually and later various scales were compared using a fractal system.
Living room — apartment
What an atmosphere is created when one is reading, the other is cutting vegetables in the space, later on they start discussing, eating and laughing next to the table. Grandparents, who used to live in this apartment before Gintė and Balys, used to be more often separated – while father was preparing the food in the kitchen, the mother was knitting in the bedroom, luckily, for the dinner they met in the living room. Seeing this example, the transformation of the space can change the daily habits and give more time to spend together.
Courtyard — kindergarten
Going to the kindergarten became a celebration – every morning children are greeted with the cosy environment, which allows them to leave the hand and independently enter their group. Unintentional conversions with the others while waiting for children to get ready became a new habit for parents. Finally, the staff of the kindergarten can get more relaxed – children are more self-dependent, parents are less stressed.
Street — neighbourhood
Naugardukas street is no longer recognizable on Sundays – the market brings people from the whole neighbourhood to gather, to shop, to eat and to enjoy the weekend. The concentration of activities and people give liveliness to the whole neighbourhood. Additionally, the street can easily be passed by bicycle or one can rest in the parklets even on workdays while having lunch.
The intersection of various interests make common space a gathering space.
The more interests intersect, the more successful spaces are created.
The concentration of interests matters, not the size of the area.
The size of the core (gathering space) in comparison to the size of the case (total area) can be described as a fractal system and reflects the same conclusions in all the analysed scales.
^ Spaces where the day is usually spent
^ Fractal schemes