Christobal Riffo Giampaoli

Inhabiting the Shoreline | Athens, Greece | Unit 21 | 2019

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The Greek government-debt crisis in 2008 forced the government to introduce many austerity measures to reduce the public spending and by doing this helping to cut the deficit. This process has affected fundamental aspects of Greek society such as Housing, Education, Healthcare, Employment, Culture and Leisure. For many Greeks, the years of economic austerity have been severe. More than 400,000 people emigrated, and in 2013 the unemployment rate peaked at 27.9%, and for those under 25, it was 58%.
This scenario propitiated the flowering of anarchist ideas that can be traced in Greek history back to the 19th century, being part of the Greek society as seeds beneath the snow. One of these ideas is the approach that anarchists have towards organisation, which is explained by Colin Ward by referring to the “theory of spontaneous order: the theory that, given a common need, a collection of people will, by trial and error, by improvisation and experiment, evolve order out of the situation – this order being more durable and more closely related to their needs than any kind of externally imposed authority could provide”. (Ward C. 1973)
This design proposal aims to address the social instability of Athens through a new City Hall that embodies the idea of an open city: one that, according to Richard Sennett, encourages unexpected encounters with strangers through ambiguous edges, incomplete forms and unresolved narratives. This vision takes the form of a shoreline where a former marble quarry meets the streets of Exarcheia. By doing this, a new way of thinking both the physical public sphere and the process of formation of the public opinion is raised.
By doing the above I aim to join the debate about the democratic performance in an age of a virtual public sphere. As technology increasingly isolates our daily experiences, there is an opportunity for the built environment to provide a vital role as the stage upon which a dynamic public creates an inclusive collective narrative of themselves.
“Urban space is a place where there is always something happening. The space of event and action, tensed by the contradictions between the state’s planning strategies and the ludic appropriation of space-time whereby the inhabitants continually reinvent an ephemeral city”.
——– Bernard Tschumi
Site Analysis

Site Research: Exarcheia 

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Parliament vs Anarchy

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Process Development: Concept Model

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Perspective Views

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