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The Idea of the Common: A Pedagogical Assessment of a Graduate Architecture Seminar in Dublin, Ireland


Public space—its history, uses and especially design—lies at the heart of the architectural curriculum. Yet defining this term can be a slippery task: what are we alluding to, specifically, when we speak of public space? Is it an idea, a phenomenon, a distinct place that can be drawn, measured and plotted? In the formal academic discipline of architecture, we freely use and apply this expression and its cognates to a multitude of situations, but we seldom pause to consider, much less scrutinize, its underlying meaning. This essay explores the conundrum of “concretizing” public space through the lens of a graduate seminar. The seminar aims to develop a series of lucid and balanced dialogues pertaining to commonality in the city.

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