The Balcony is Our New Oasis

As the coronavirus rages on, the way we live, especially our relationship with the “outdoors” and each other, has become critically important. In urban environments where access to the outdoors can be limited and direct contact with others can be dangerous to one’s health, the balcony is our refuge.

The balcony, so often an architectural afterthought, is the central protagonist of this new chapter in our lives.

It is the ultimate “liminal” space…a space which is a literal “crossing over”. It is a threshold space that inhabits the outside edge of our domestic walls and allows us to keep in touch with nature, with fresh air, with others and with our community, all the while staying “inside” our own home.

And it is here, on our balconies, that we can feel safe, but social. On our personal perch, we witness the life of our neighborhood unfolding. Part dining room and living room, open yet closed, public yet private, garden and terrace, the balcony has become a vitally important oasis.

JEMA has created a new multi-family building in the Tower Grove South area, MOFO Urban Residences, that is designed specifically to include large balconies. Every unit has a balcony with the largest being over 115 square feet. The design intention is to create an outdoor space that allows for a multitude of activities such as small parties, bbq’ing, yoga, exercise, lounging…and of course napping.

Who cannot become inspired by our “front line” workers. Across the globe, people collectively come out onto their balconies and express their gratitude and solidarity.
The balcony is also a garden.
Our perch is our sanctuary.
Can you spot the telescope and hammock?
Private, yet communal: the balcony is the ultimate liminal space.
Perforated weathering steel panels block the western sun while providing a degree of privacy.
The balcony can connect to every space.
Each residence has a large balcony at MOFO.
The encounter with the Other occurs here, on the balcony we see each other. It is the original social media platform.
The corner balcony. Is it the most private, yet public of all spaces?