In fact there are many kinds of in-between spaces, possibly first discussed by the Dutch architect Aldo van Eyck as “thresholds”. The brilliant idea of undefined spaces, which can adopt many different functions on demand, is something no house should be missing and even further, these are spaces, which contribute for a better urban life in the larger scale. Here I will be focusing on the seamless transition between the state of in- and outdoors, showing some examples of how these spaces are arranged in a smaller scale.
Creating of a room for social experience
My first example shows a multi-functional window as a main feature, which attracts complementary parts in this configuration: the wall table and the bar chairs. The so opened window and the rest of the elements enhance the sense of being on a public place without even leaving your house. All you need is a good company and maybe your mom who passes orange juices and coffees.
Becoming a part of the landscape
Another way to be outside while staying in your home is to have really large windows and just let the surrounding in by simply open them. While it can be nice to have a wind-protected place where you can enjoy the sun, it can sometimes turn into a huge disadvantage if your area is rich with insects or flying dust.
Expansion of the inner space
This corridor is much more than a passage because of its undefined state. It is organized as a combination of elements designed to enhance the transition between inside and outside. The open roof and the ivies as a part of the outside realm on the one hand and on the other: the wood floor in close connection with the living room. The system of window walls makes the room flexible and allows a direct entering in the inner space when open.
Creating intensity and movement
Here we have a more developed configuration where a crossroad is created while allowing series of paths for access to different spaces like the rooftop terrace or other rooms in the dwelling. The visual as well as the physical variety like sheltered sitting space, skylight on the floor, trees, stairs etc. really contributes to an interesting experience.
The roof as a living space
Remember those tropical types of idyllic bathrooms with no walls and the great view of the ocean? Here we have something similar but in the city. Letting the outside environment to pore inside your bedroom, one of the most private spaces in our homes can be challenging but liberating at the same time. How can the boundaries of such room be defined, as the physical dimensions are no longer applicable? You can put the limits by yourself!
Application in the urban design
The expansion of the inner space outside and the other way around, the entering of the outside world inside can be inspiring idea to enrich even our public and semi-public spaces and thus making the city comfortable and welcoming. Walking down the streets of Patras, one of the biggest cities in Greece, I noticed how creative the shop owners are to design their spaces with these principles and how this affects the pedestrian experience, mostly in a positive way..
Own production / Dance Studio Roula Mavriopoulou, Patras, Greece
Inner space entering the street
At this dance studio the “back yard” is actually expanding on the main street while the formal entrance is on the perpendicular street, which is much smaller. In that way the pedestrians are invited to a more private experience, introducing atmosphere shifting into the public realm.
Thinking more commercially, many cafeterias are also designed on the principle of blurring the limits between in and out. This increases the interaction between the people at the café and the passing by pedestrians, creating the moment of the unexpected meeting.
Own production / Café at Olga’s Square, Patras, Greece
The in-between spaces are so necessary because they bring the feeling of freedom and allow the users to perform activities by their own choice. In the case of blending between indoors and outdoors environments we encourage movement between the two through provoking desire and curiosity in the both directions and thus, we make these spaces active ones.