onsdag 15 juli 2009

The Dividual Space

There is a new form of public space emerging in Tokyo supporting the fragmented life of its citizens namely 'the dividual space' a term coined by prof Yoshiharu Tsukamoto and Jorge Almazán Caballero in a study (pdf) from 2006 to denominate the "Commercial settings that provide immediate public admittance to non-supervised and fully-equipped personal space by charging the user a low price by short increments of time" (definition). The four types of venues listed in the study from 2005 that fall completely within the category are the Manga Kissa, Love Hotel, Kenkô Land and Karaoke Box. The study shows how this type of setting can tranform our view on the city since we're no longer able to divide the urban life into a polemic of 'private vs. public'. The 'dividual' provides spaces where "individuals can act separately within the public realm", providing a third alternative. They also point out that these venues present a surplus of contents and experiences which makes them goals in themselves as opposed to the preconception that they are substitutes for deficient homes. Dispite the poor spatial qualities a considerable amount of people accept these environments for shorter periods of time. Rather, for these venues it is the content that is in focus rather than its container. As can be seen on their marketing sites included media and equipment are the main selling points, sometimes together with an associative "theme" to trigger the imagination.

Among the architects who have worked with the matter of fragmented urban life are Archigram in the 1960's and Toyo Ito in the 1980's.

Criterion for 'dividual space'

Network of Karaoke Boxes throughout Tokyo's 23 wards

Typical plan for a Manga Kissa (Aprecio Shinjuku Haigea Store,
Shinjuku Ward, Kabuki-chô 2-44-1)

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