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20th Century Public Space - Essay Example

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List of Figures
Figure 1 Courtyard of Montagu House, Bloomsbury, 1754………………………….…….Page 3
Figure 2 Smirke Building…………….……………………………………….……………Page 5
Figure 3 King’s Library……………………….……………………………………………Page 6
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20th Century Public Space
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Download file to see previous pages Figure 4 The Great Court at the British Museum Designed by Norman Foster…..………..Page 8
Public spaces are critical components of urban areas. According to Worpole public spaces are any areas that are open and accessible to people (p. 3). This may include roads, public arenas, government buildings, libraries museums among other structures. It is imperative to note that the public spaces include outdoor and indoor spaces. Historically, pubic spaces were used by people for social, economic and even political purposes. Thus, these places played an integral role in building the social and cultural relationships among the people in a particular area. In the United Kingdom, urban areas have incorporated public spaces as an essential element of urban planning for centuries. In Europe, most cities took a functional approach towards the design public spaces whereby there existed several kinds of public spaces with different functions and symbolism (Hamnett & Noam 223). The functional approach of architectural design was favored due to the specialization of the cities. For instance, factors such as traffic, politics, social contrasts and productivity became critical considerations in the selection of the kind of public space appropriate for a particular area. It is evident that planning and design of public spaces has to that the spaces facilitates easy and meaningful interactions of people. Suffice to say, public spaces in buildings such as churches have to architectural designed to handle large numbers of people with various needs and demands. LondonMuseum One of the most notable public spaces in the history of Europe is the museum. Museums can be basically defined as places where objects of cultural or historical significance are exhibited. Notably, museums are repositories for historical artifacts that are of value for future generations in order to allow interested people to view. The first public museum in Britain was opened in 1753 in London (Duncan 279).This was the first national public museum in the globe and it was the brainchild of Sir Hans Sloane. The British Museum was officially established through an Act of Parliament and it was first housed in a seventeenth century mansion in Bloomsbury London called Montagu House. Over the centuries, the buildings housing the British Museum have changed the museum has remained in its original location. Figure 1 Courtyard of Montagu House, Bloomsbury, 1754. (Worpole 175) After its opening in 1753, the museum grew in stature and the number of collections. Initially, the Museum had approximately seventy one thousand collections which were contributed by the Sir Hans Sloane. The huge number of new collections naturally meant that the Museum had outgrown the original building in which it was housed. This prompted the first expansion programme that laid the foundations for the present structure that houses the British Museum. In 1823, the trustees of the British Museum commissioned a renowned architect Sir Robert Smirke to construct the new buildings. The construction of the new building was necessitated by the fact that the Museum had received the gift of King George IV’s father’s library and there was no space to add more book shelves in the Museum. Robert Smirke was a follower of the Greek Revival movement of architecture and endeavored to use this architectural design principle in the construction of the building. According to the Greek Revival movement, it was appropriate for buildings to have simplicity and the classical look of the Greek architecture (Hamnett & Noam 225). The design concept for the Smirke building originated from the ancient Greek temples. Smirke ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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