The New Democratic Space

Austin Roberts, B.Arch '24

  • FA.20
  • Level: undergraduate
  • Discipline: Architecture
  • Instructor: Scott Uriu

This project seeks to create a district based on Democracy within the new Burbank community. In the early days of the Athenian Democracy, the hilltop Agora was the central meeting where democratic discussions, elections, trials, and votes were held. The Agora lays on top of a hill in Athens, and its open space made it the perfect location for the birthplace of democracy. In this project, the idea of the Agora is transformed for the future. The site focuses heavily on the central Agora building, with multiple design choices being made in order to highlight and lead to this central building. The building itself is suited to large gatherings; both inside, outside, and on top. This wide open, accessible space will encourage democratic discussion and discourse, even at the local level.

Today, democracy may manifest itself physically in things such as protests, debates, or sharing ideas. All of these manifestations are invited and encourage by the open program of the Agora and its location within the site. While democracy looks radically different today than it did in Ancient Athens, the spatial concepts that allowed for the birth of democracy are still relevant.