In Athens, or any other Greek town and city, instead of well-planned, commissioned housing projects, regulatory masterplans and the like, a rather different model of city planning is immediately identifiable. What defines the city’s urban horizon is a system of space management based on the deployment of a singular building unit, with an average of four to five storeys high, organized in irregular fragments of discontinuous grids, made of in situ, labour-intensive concrete frames, filled with bricks, plastered, something that ultimately looks like a stack of slabs with continuous balconies.
The presentation develops a critical reading of this model, presenting the way this domestic environment and distinct architectural typology mediated social conflict and economic development in post-war Greece. Architecture and urban management are presented here in relation to production, real estate, law, and the construction industry. Moreover, and in light of the current economic crisis, the essay attempts to relate contemporary financial tools and mechanisms put forward by the EU/ECB/IMF memorandums with the prehistory of spatial and social policies that defined the Greek society and its struggles in the last seven decades.
About the Speaker:
Platon Issaias is an architect. He studied architecture in Greece and he holds an MSc from Columbia University and a PhD from TU Delft. His thesis investigated the recent history of planning in Athens and the link between conflict, urban management and architectural form. He is currently a Tutor at the Royal College of Art, teaching design studios in the MA Architecture and MA City Design programmes. He is also a Unit Master at the Projective Cities MA in Architecture and Urban Design at the Architectural Association.
The DLA Research Seminar Series provides a platform to discuss scholarly research on the built environment that is interdisciplinary in nature. The series aims to identify common research threads from landscape architecture, architecture, planning, urban design, and conservation, and by doing so instigates critical reflections on the different approaches to the study of landscapes and cities. For the list of seminar topics, see https://www.arch.hku.hk/event_/dla-fall-2017-research-seminar-series/
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