The 1950’s in Greece saw rapid socio-economic changes and urbanization, under such urgency that there was no time for theory or planning. The resulting typology from this urbanization was the Polykatoikia, a five to seven story private block development which forms a relentless datum across the ever expanding city. The Polykatoikia forms walls around streets and urban voids, which are almost exclusively archaeological sites. As a result public and green space is in crisis in Thessaloniki. The premise of the studio aims to densify the center, consolidating the borders of the city while gifting the city with new public park space. Whilst this project doesn’t claim to provide a solution to the Polykatoikia problem, it does seek to ask provocative questions. Can the center of Helexpo decongest itself of desolate buildings and bring a new urban park to the city while simultaneously providing mass housing to residents and dormitories for nearby Aristotle University of Thessaloniki? Can the prototypical separation of housing types, dormitories, single family, studio, one and two bedrooms be combined and benefit from one another’s presence? Can eclectic financial and social demographics exist inside of a coherent and architecturally unified environment?
The project tests ambitious design merged with contextual specificity; engaging with “Greekness” as an expression of democratic design. The Polykatoikia is met with a provocative extension of its type, a new datum for the city of Thessaloniki.
The project is presented as a collection of things. Grids, lines, artifacts, architectural hybrids, constructed artifacts, become a project about the possibilities of architecture. Early “Gridscapes” combine Corbusier’s monumental project of modernism and hygiene, the Villa Savoye, with John Smith’s 1612 map of Virginia. Mechanized space of the 20th Century crosses with calligraphic landscapes of 17th Century representation. Constructed artifacts deal with the nature of the line as a hybridized thing, capable of changing material properties from charred to natural wood, seamlessly spliced with resin.
Early artifacts and Gridscapes deploy themselves on a site in Peckham. The project becomes a world enveloping contradictory things, Spa and Meat Market, Gallery and Residential spaces, self-referential proportions, and calligraphic ribbon windows all come together in a Polyphonic world about representation and architecture.
Architectural Design: Dance Machine
The project explores the dance studio through the lens of simultaneity. Three dance studios array themselves around a central lobby that envelopes the inhabitants within a performance. The dance studios spiral sectionally until meeting at the central auditorium volume that defines the roof of the lobby. The multifaceted volumes are defined by view corridors placed at key contextual approaches to the site.