Interstitial Spaces and Public Life, the Overlooked Interventions that Weave our Built Environment

© Yi-Hsien Lee and Associates YHLAA

Throughout the years, urban settings have been shifting and taking on new forms. Workspaces became more flexible, home-based offices are common and the increasing costs of housing have led to changes in the way dwellings are designed and built; while turning us towards public and communal outdoor areas for leisurely activities and social gatherings. Our shifting lifestyles are therefore shaping a new urban landscape that’s influencing the way we conceive and use these spaces. Despite everything, some smaller and often unrecognized typologies have persisted and remain as necessary as they’d always been.

They are not places of defined function, yet they still host valuable instances within our day-to-day lives. The latter are the Interstitial (or In-between) spaces, that act as buffers to, and link our private spaces to the public and functional buildings or landscapes. They are the hallways, waiting areas, elevators, staircases, entrances, and transitional zones weave our built environment together. 

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