This article by Kjetil Trædal Thorsen, the cofounder of Snøhetta, was originally published by Metropolis Magazine as "Opinion: The Next Great Public Spaces Will Be Indoors." Maybe with the sole exception of railway stations, public space is generally understood as outdoor space. Whether in the United States or in Europe, especially now with heightened concerns around security, there seems to be this determined way of privatizing everything that is indoors, even as we are increasingly aiming to improve access to public space outdoors. But in the layered systems of our cities of the future, we will need to focus on the public spaces that are found inside buildings—and make them accessible. In 1748, Giambattista Nolli made this wonderful map of Rome where he only had two distinctions—what was private and what was public. Whether it was indoor or outdoor, whether there was a church space or a plaza, it didn’t really matter. It told a different story of the city. There are some examples from today—the roof of our Oslo Opera House is outdoors, for instance, but it’s on the building and publicly accessible. Opening up the Louvre and trying to let people walk through it 24 hours a day—as with the museum’s recent takeover by the artist JR—is another way of not making a distinction between indoor and outdoor public space.
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