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Private versus Public Spaces.

Updated: Jul 29

A space is characterized by its levels of public accessibility, therefore, depending on its assigned use, dimension, and quality, a space is bound to have either a public or a private nature, which is quickly recognizable and will influence our behavior while we find our self within that space. The private or public character of spaces is defined by dimension, social control, and permeability, meaning the number and types of openings in its spacial shell.

Public spaces are mostly shaped by their dimensions! It has to provide sufficient grounds for people to comfortably move/work within it. Sequences of movement and activities can be directed and controlled by how we design these type of spaces. They offer greater freedom of movement than the comparably small, private space. Social control and surveillance restricts and protects activities in a public space, because it helps to maintain socially accepted standards of behavior. A lack of it could quickly turn it into something inhospitable; public activities no longer would take place and there would be no attractive amenities that would encourage visitors to linger or work there.

Private spaces on the other hand, is a spatial type of room that is meant to protect the privacy of the individual, its a place for activities that are not observed by the general public! A private room, an apartment in the city or a beautiful house, are typical examples of private spaces. Its interior design is largely based on human scale and is defined by activities and objects that are partially or not at all shared with the general public.

This spatial type frequently possesses a solid spatial shell that clearly separates the interior from the exterior providing retreat, safety, security, familiarity and intimacy. It is build to include closable openings, (doors), which will allow the inhabitants of the space take control of who may access it and to what extent.

There is no objective perception or approach of space; it is conditioned by the viewers individual perception and socioeconomic, as well as cultural background. An enormous spectrum of potential perspectives and endless creative possibilities.

Fabio Ragona

VRG Design Brisbane.

23 December 2020


  • Dietrich Pressel.

  • Ulrich Exner.

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