sarmiento square, by ramiro schere
Only the children are privileged
It seems that every contemporary public space worthy of its name can be summarized as a surface – a Surface in upper case. This neutrality seems satisfactory in principle, because it allows us to imagine all possible users and uses. It also seems that if the space is central, or at least isolated, all the better.
But this is not the case. In “Plaza Sarmiento” this surface exists, but its position (on the corner), its environs (enclosed) and its dominant mode (playground) have all reduced it to texture. What remains is an enclosing fence that neutralizes and establishes the square’s true dimensions.
The gated bars cut the space into two tangential subspaces: the open, public, and presumably democratic space presided over by a monument to the “hero” which is linked to the village; and the over-programmed public space, full of inferred, small activities, which is confined by its partition, thus virtually conforming to the traditional city-block form.
Due to these restrictions, the square highlights several notable issues, the first of which is a paradox: an “open” outside that is protected by bars and a “closed” inside, where, nevertheless, everything is a game; and the contemporary phenomenon that is a space where only the children are privileged.