Labics The Architecture of Public Space

Source: LabicsPublishers: Park BooksAuthors: Maria Claudia Clemente, Francesco Isidori, Marco BiraghiLanguage: EnglishYear: 2023Shop: La Capell
Date: March 1, 2024 Category: Books

Squares, galleries, loggias, porticoes, and courtyards are the elements that characterise Italy’s historic towns and cities ― and that make the experience of these public spaces intense and attractive. Labics sets out to explore these enchanting spaces, to analyse their history and typologies, and to document and describe them through newly produced photographs, plans, and diagrams. They offer a taxonomy of solutions that, as a whole, forms a timeless theory for the design of public spaces.

The Architecture of Public Space features a captivating collection of image material that visually decodes these characteristic core elements of Italian architecture and specifies their role in the definition of public space. The volume highlights the architectural solutions from the 13th to the 20th centuries that produce the particular spatial quality of these urban structures and sets out how they were originally established for and are continuing to be used by the people.


The opportunity to develop the thoughts from which this work has originated came in the form of an invitation to take part in a symposium title “Common Luxury – Less Private Space, More Collective Space,” organized by Andreas Ruby, the director of the Swiss Architecture Museum, in Basel in 2016. The title implied the idea that collective space, in a global context of urban transformations driven by prevalently private interests, represents an added value – the true wealth – that can be pursued by architecture. Andreas Ruby, who had previously visited our recently completed projects in Rome and Bologna – Città del Sole and Fondazione MAST – had perceived in both cases a particular attitude toward the construction of collective and shared spaces, partially attributable to the fact that those projects were designed by architects born and raised in Italy.

Preparing our contribution to the symposium, it seemed important to address the theme of public space from two different and complementary angles: on the one hand, the analysis of the role and meaning of public space in Italian cities, and on the other the role played by architecture in its formation.

These lines of reasoning, with their multiple nuances and interactions, have shaped the content of this book.

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