This comunication is centered on a new word – iSpace - that wants to identify a function that doesn't exist yet.
Events, things or situations sometimes evolve over their own expectations. Often these events start without a specific name and, during this time, they change and develop so much that, finally, their sense doesn't coincide with the original definition. Structures exist in architecture closely related with precise functions like industry, office buildings, spaces connected to new system of transport or to new inventions. In these cases morphological and typological evolution of the buildings is connected to instruments or systems modification and updates.
Instead, the spaces about which we are going to speak haven't had such a linear development and often they have received more than one definition connected to different points of view or judgement values. Rather these strong social impact spaces have had a particular evolution that have changed the reasons for which they were created.
We are speaking about relation's spaces, multifunctional containers that are an addition to many temporary shopping functions, or relaxtion, mobilty or refreshment functions. They are shopping centers, multi-cinemas, outlets, highway stops, design villages, all are strongly attractive spaces, with many features but without identity, that in 1986 Marc Augé called “nonspace”.
The word “nonspace” was used, by the french anthropologyst, to define the spaces which cannot be defined on the basis of their identity, relations and historical aspects, characteristics which, on the contrary, determine the concept of “space”. For this theory the “nonspaces” don't create an organic social event, but rather a condition of “solitary contractuality” which is defined not so much by the communicative impact of the architecture as by the “words” which describe environments, suggesting behaviours and goals. Man’s role is reduced to that of a mere “user”, without any cultural and psychological expectation, with a loss of identity.
Recent studies proposed in alternative the word “superspace” to indicate the sense of “nonspace” in the context of todays global society based on a new life style with different aspects which change the value in relation to the ambient. This “superspace” interprets the need to have an immediate, simultaneous and complex answers from public spaces either in cities or in the surrounding enviroments.
From an antropological point of view it represents the requested satisfaction for a social space in which you spend the “ritual” of everyday life in a hurry. In any case, despite this, the places don't have a symbolic aspect to represent an original model to identify the new social network.
“Nonplaces” and “superspaces” are both characterized by growth needed to recive services but, at the same time, are incapable of creating a contemporary lexico or building new ways, relationships, languages or architectural styles. The scene prevals above the content and it doesn't give a new form to a function; rather it creates a scene where false dreams appear realized while, in reality, they are based only on the commercial approach.
These “real” but indeterminated spaces which have not given a form to the present, have created a new category of “virtual” spaces called “iperspaces”. “Iperspace” explains a wish for an ideal world life style, it represents the latest opportunities of areas where you meet, know, shop, get information and live emotions not producing real but virtual places where you can do real things, however.
Today we assist with the devolpment of the “superspace” with an immaterial dimension not connected to the social relationship in the designed territory but well defined by required requests: efficent, easy to access, multifunctional, flexible and, most important, these spaces are repetibly and easy to recognize.
The analisys doesn't have to be only negative and it should be interpreted by the reason which create these places. Infact the “iperspaces” should be omogeneous but in reality they don't homogenize people. Instead they allow everybody to choose, to communicate, to represent, to show themselves, and clarify their personal ideas and values.
What future does iSpace have?
Basic iSpaces will be places based on “interactivity”, designed like “interfaces”, spaces which are not demanding but should be seen as services interactible with people.
The interactivity involve by the user with the possibility to choose, to self build the information and action’s necessary system, adapting spaces. Man therefore as a spectator becomes the protagonist and the creator of the characteristics of his own life places. Through the interactivity and flexibility the spaces can change from day to day and moment to moment, projected for and by each visitor. The iSpaces will be places of exchange connected to other similar spaces, both will not be absolutly defined.
So what the principal points of projection should be:
To source a new language specific and adaptable to communicate these spaces, ceasing to copy the old styles which only create pictoresque scenes. Today these kind of public spaces are characterized by a rich interior but without a personal facade, their future would be a modifiable solution that can be changed to suit the enviroment or a “non-facade” which in itself creates the character in continuity with the landscape.
To create flexibility of use, and not a determinated organization of spaces. It's important to project living spaces which are free of usual components, so as to create a sort of hierarchichal functional layer system. A system which offers many uses to choose in a non determined manner.
To connect iSpaces with daily life places and spaces in the same easy way one can arrive in every place of “iperspace” only with a click of the mouse. Therefore iSpaces will be “transit places” in a wider network and not only “destination points”, which can be arrived at by comfortable and reliable public transport and not always by car. Infact today “superspaces” are the central point of attraction of the enviroment; on the contrary iSpaces will be “nodes” of a complex network system, not just for transport but more for services and living places.
Finally we don't know really what and how these spaces in future will be, but we know how they should not be. Infact the work of architects is not only to offer answers to requested solutions but, more importantly, to suggest and to advise in the direction of the right development of the live spaces.