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Title: A dialogical investigation into the architectonics of designing public space at Barking Town Square
Author: Kenniff, T.
Awarding Body: University College London (University of London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2013
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This thesis is an exploration of identity, public space and design in the town of Barking, London England, where a new Town Square was produced between 2000 and 2010. Designed by muf architecture/art (public realm) and Alford Hall Monaghan Morris Architects (buildings), the Barking Town Square, as will be seen in this research, is a telling moment of urban and public space development of its period. Consequently, the project raises significant questions about the evolving identity of its participants and publics, the value of public space in the contemporary city, and the relationship between design authority and public participation. It develops the concept of dialogue, from the Bakhtinian theory of dialogism, as a conceptual paradigm for identity, public space and design, recasting the initial investigation into an exploration of alterity (individuals and publics cannot be conceived outside of their situated relations to others), spatial heteroglossia (public space as a production of different discourses) and practical ambivalence (the blurring of boundaries to activate the social and political potential of design). The thesis thus investigates, in Bakhtinian terminology, how different voices inflect the polyphonic landscape of public space, particularly in the context of urban regeneration and the relationship between ideal projections (of publics, of public spaces, of design concepts) and their challenge in the everyday use and management of such places. Furthermore, the inherent ambivalence of dialogue—particularly its openness and the way it allows contradictions to co-exist—is traced throughout as a common thread uniting the questions raised by the Barking Town Square project and those of theory. The methods of investigation emphasise interviews, participant-observation and fieldwork, capturing a project that existed for the duration of my research in a state of becoming.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available