Private public space

click on images for full-size:

Hotel atrium in D.C.

Mall in Berlin

Given the national split personality, dedicated to both the Hamiltonian realities of moneymaking and the Jeffersonian idealism of a self-sufficient agrarian Arcadia . . . . Almost since the dawn of the Republic, private wealth has not only aggrandized its position with Classical architecture, it has also provided the majority of the public settings -- the piazzas, arcades, palm courts, atria -- that enable most Americans to escape from the privacy and the loneliness of the home and the farm and share, at least for a while, public life. Many of our great public meeting places have been created and maintained by commercial enterprises. Stern 1986, 222
Shopping has become the main ingredient of any new urban substance. The shift is colossal. The city used to be free; now you have to pay for it. We are witnessing the birth of the postpublic, the private city. It affects everything -- program, architecture, events. What is stunning is the somnolence with which we have watched this revolution, how casually we have tolerated our good intentions about city life to be perverted. Koolhaas 2000, 42-3