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Public Space Research Case Studies

Public Spaces and the Role of the Architect

Case Studies

With a wide enough range of case studies, one can draw useful conclusions about designers, their public space designs, and the social, political and cultural contexts in which they work(ed). We therefore chose eight case studies in London, four Modernist and four contemporary, and eight in Sao Paulo, again four Modernist and four contemporary. To ensure they were representative, we included public and private sector architects; public and private sector clients; a range of programmes – commercial, civic, retail, arts; a range of scales from intimate to infrastructural; spaces that were popular then/spaces that were popular later; designs with realised intentions/designs with thwarted intentions; innovative typologies and more traditional ones; interior public spaces and exterior ones; insertions into existing fabric and tabula rasa interventions. In this way we were assured of justifiable cultural comparisons (between Sao Paulo and London), and temporal comparisons (between the mid-20th century and the early 21st).

Modernist (1960's & 1970's)

Contemporary (21st century)


Connected Croydon
Barking Town Centre
Granary Square

São Paulo

Largo da Batata
Praca da Juventude
Praca da Artes
Praca Brascan Century