Limits of Control / Thomas Sheehan

06 30th, 2011

Innsbruck exhibits a vast rang of public spaces. Each space is composed of a unique combination of elements from, the type of ownership, level of surveillance, the surface treatment, signage, the use of lighting and type of public art. All these elements influence the behaviour desired by the Architect and the Owner. This sense of control ranges from one extreme of complete freedom at the nudist beach, to the total control exhibited at the BTV City Forum.

Furthermore, these rules which control the spaces only become obvious when they are transgressed. Nudity at the Nude Beach just outside of Innsbruck is technically an illegal activity, but is socially accepted, while when same activity is located in the City of Innsbruck, such as is in the case when a couple were caught having sex on the Landhausplatz, they were arrested by the police for this activity. These controls are also manipulated by the owners of the space, where a public space now becomes a curated promotional space. Sparkassenplatz, which is a privately owned public space by Sparkasse Bank, uses the fact that it is out of jurisdiction of local authorities to exhibit a range of activities that can then be applied as a design technique, where fallow urban public spaces can become a space of experience and opportunity.

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