AbstractsBiology & Animal Science

The infrastructural space of appearance : the re-formed public library

by Neeraj Bhatia

Institution: MIT
Department: Architecture
Degree: MS
Year: 2007
Keywords: Architecture.
Record ID: 1793358
Full text PDF: http://hdl.handle.net/1721.1/41566


This thesis examines the dilemma of the common object in a liberal pluralist society. Situating the arguments in Hannah Arendt's The Human Condition, the thesis investigates the notion of the Space of Appearance in the contemporary city as providing a common platform for exchange. This Space of Appearance is conceived of through the linking of two public and democratic infrastructures  – mass transport lines and the public library. By symbiotically linking the two infrastructures, a space for action and speech emerges that creates concern for the collective object, thereby affirming the reality provided by the public realm. Using Toronto, Ontario as a case study of multicultural pluralism, the thesis examines the location of Southern Ontario in North America as a precursor to Toronto's multicultural success. From here, the study zooms into a specific site in the center of Toronto entitled "CityPlace." CityPlace is an island formed and bounded through massive infrastructural separation, while simultaneously situated at the convergence of the city's flows. It is this "neither zone" of both Southern Ontario, and more locally, CityPlace that is believed to strengthen its ability to embrace pluralism. An urban design proposal for this foreign island of CityPlace investigates the common object in pluralism at the scale of the city. Lastly, this thesis investigates the common object in pluralism at the scale of architecture, namely the public library. through situating the discourse of the library in a historic lineage, the current dilemmas of library design are extracted. A new typology is developed which directly addresses these problems, the CityPlace island, and Arendt's notion of plurality. As the medium of library information increasingly changes to non-spatially bound forms, the primary role of the new typology is repositioned as its ability to provide a common meeting ground for the city. Through an investigation of pluralism, the thesis proposes an Infrastructural Space of Appearance that provides a collective platform for exchange at the scale of the city and building, in the liberal pluralist city of Toronto.