With this first issue of Urban Eidos the Ideal Spaces Foundation is proud to announce the launch of its latest initiative, an academic journal aimed to explore new paths in the landscape of scholarly communication. This hybrid of an academic journal and platform, accessible at https://urban-eidos.com/, marks a significant departure from many ‘traditional’ academic publishing models by offering open access to all its content, ensuring that every contribution is freely available to scholars, practitioners, and the public worldwide while committing to remove financial barriers to knowledge dissemination: Hence, unlike many academic platforms, Urban Eidos does not impose submission or publication fees on its contributors, thereby democratizing access to publishing opportunities for researchers, artists and creators across the globe.

We aim not merely to innovate in terms of format, but also to reconsider the form of scientific communication. Therefore, we strive to question the conventional boundaries of academic journals. While Urban Eidos encompasses the rigor of scholarly texts, it is not confined to texts as are conventional journals, but follows an inclusive approach instead, by equally integrating the domain of art. It is a new form of journal, comprising the realms of science, arts, and architecture, to foster an interdisciplinary dialogue that is often missing in today’s segmented academic environment. We hope that this fusion not only broadens the scope of discourse but also enriches the intellectual landscape with diverse perspectives and innovative ideas by incorporating a domain of art that extends beyond textual analysis. This inclusive approach not only celebrates the multifaceted nature of knowledge, but also invites a broader audience to engage with the journal’s content. Each contribution within Urban Eidos is assigned a Digital Object Identifier (DOI), ensuring its inclusion in academic libraries worldwide and enhancing its visibility and impact within the scholarly community.

In line with the scope of the Ideal Spaces Foundation (https://www.idealspaces.org/working-group-2/), Urban Eidos encompasses a broad examination about architecture, space, and community in a wider sense, with the expressions of their relationships in art, science, and the built space. Space is more than what we see, and architecture is more than built physical space. When we look at the relations between space and architecture, every intentionally planned order can be conceived as architecture; e.g. the architecture of an institution, as such invisible (but active), and expressed in its visible, symbolic form as an organigram. 

Taking the original notion of a symbol as representing something else it stands for, architecture is inherently symbolic, necessitating both scientific and artistic ways of interpretation, interaction and interpretation. This is particularly pertinent as architectural forms and spaces embody specific ideologies and presuppositions about human nature—what architectural styles suit which types of individuals—regardless of whether these notions are explicitly stated or operate implicitly as unacknowledged certainties. Architecture and space, therefore, resonate with the human condition or ‘conditio humana’, where underlying assumptions about this condition shape architectural creation, and in turn, the resulting structures impact human experiences, behaviors, perceptions, and overall worldview, both consciously and subconsciously. Consequently, architecture significantly influences individuals’ quality of life and inherently possesses sociological and political dimensions.

As regards both these dimensions, cultural heritage is relevant, as well as the nexus between community, space, and place. Communities need individual, recognizable places to unfold and to prosper, not just space to exist in. Looking at the basic human condition to be a zoon politikon, an animal living in the community of the polis, the relations between concepts of the city, free citizenship, and democracy are of particular importance. 

Join us in this exciting journey as we explore the intersections of science, arts, and architecture through the open and inclusive platform of Urban Eidos. We welcome every scholar, practitioner, and artist to contribute to this discourse—be it as a reader, reviewer, or author.

U. Gehmann & A. Siess

Inside this issue

Our first edition Architecture, Space, and Place is about highlighting some perspectives on space, architecture, and community. 

Referring to the assumptions about a human condition outlined in the foregoing, for the human being as a cultural animal (McLuhan), living in the city might be an essential trait, but at the same time, there was a feeling of unease that arose early in the history of urban civilization. If urbanity is the epitome for culture, what about nature? In the face of climate crisis, ecological threats, and expanding urban agglomerations, this question gained actuality again. To bring nature back into the city is not confined to recent ‘green city’-approaches but has a long history, epitomized in the ideal of the garden, the altera natura as the Roman writer Cicero called it. A garden/park, together with its mythological connotations, is an artificial nature, a kind of 2.0-naturality adapted to culture. Flight from the City – Love for the Garden by Steffen Krämer deals with these aspects.

The attempts to create an artificial nature are not confined to gardens. From the idea of the Polis onwards, the intention (and hope) was that a ‘good’ city can be created, a città felice as the Italian Renaissance coined it, based on the assumption that building on the city is building on society. In addition, the real altera natura of humans is not the garden but the city. It became second nature that spread out on a global scale, reflected by the fact that the major part of today’s world population lives in cities.

What to do to keep the city human? What about community, and the need for places? Community lives by inclusion, and places where this is possible. Ideal Space and Inclusion by Ulrich Gehmann will look at essential aspects related to these questions.

Skopéin: The latest paper, entitled Making Skopéinan autoethnographic report about the interplay between space and media art delves into the interplay between space and art(work). Through an autoethnographic lens, the paper presents the conception and creation phases of the media art installation ‘Skopéin’, providing insights into the aesthetic genesis of an artistic collaboration. Furthermore, it focuses on the role of space as a medium within exhibitions. The authors Andreas Siess and Michael Johansson argue that such space is not merely a ‘container’ for art, but an integral component of installation art. Consequently, they suggest that the traditional dichotomy between art and viewer should be expanded to a triadic configuration comprising space, artwork, and individuals, all of which interact with one another.