Post-Public Space

Post-Public Space
image by Francisco Silva
In an age defined by virtual enhancements, how will the public space evolve?

Francisco João Silva
Paris, France
Francisco Silva is one of the founders and creative directors of EX FIGURA
Field of work
Architecture, Design, Urban planning, Visual Art, Research
Project category
Public space
Project submitted

Francisco Silva is one of the founders of EX FIGURA. In the Porto School of Architecture, under Alvaro Siza and Souto de Moura, he
developed his master’s thesis on the evolution of housing. In the same period, he studied urban planning in the Academie van
Bouwkunst in Amsterdam. Afterwards, working for Jean Nouvel, he developed the execution and construction of the National Museum of
Qatar in Doha, as well as the Qingdao Artist Garden and Shanghai Museum of Art Pudong. At Sou Fujimoto Architects, he collaborated
in the most recent building complex in Lyon and the office’s first American project - Co-living in Brooklyn, New York.
His research on the impact of space on the individual and society’s daily life is an ongoing process that has been published in several
articles in architectural magazines like, OASE, MONU, IUAV's Villarjournal, l'Essenziale, etc. At the same time, he has been awarded various prizes in international competitions and got his work
built and exhibited in major cities, such as Paris, Milan, London, Porto, among others.

There is an ongoing cultural shift at the level of how people interact with each other. With the increase of a virtual presence, the psychological transformations operated by social media and also the way remote working is redefining the daily routine, people are increasingly isolated in their private worlds. Technology is the main drive of this transformation, cutting distances short and enabling everyone to be closer by projecting the individual presence across space. Inversely, virtual accessibility is based on images, stripping social interactions from their deep interpersonal connection and replacing it with relations between avatars, free from any typical social constraints, where any extreme behaviour is possible These factors are feeding a skepticism in the public space and taking away its value as a fundamental part of society’s place in the world, while raising the question of what will happen to public space.
Vidler characterises post-urbanism as the end of liberal humanism, of social conscience and a disbelief in the public realm. The end of the current urban planning and all the economical investment, exclusive to certain groups and activities would equally mean the opening of opportunities for everything that was usually left out of its scope. He proposed the surge of a new undefined condition, already purged of any previous constraints, that allowed it to become much more than it ever was.
The loss of meaning of the public space seems to point in a similar direction. The recent cultural shift, with an ever growing indifference towards the public sphere and a societal polarisation that is also accompanied with an increasing concern for inclusion and valuing of every individual of a community.
This new space, depleted of any constraints can become a new place of inclusivity, driven by a design that no longer plans in larger scales but merely operates relations between its various users.