Oliver Parkinson

Pnyx public planning portal | Athens, Greece | Unit 21 | 2019

Awarded Distinction for Design 

Click to see Thesis
Click to see 4th year work
Learning from Raphael’s School Of Athens
The project’s point of departure began with an investigation into Raphael’s Fresco; The School of Athens. Commissioned by Pope Julius II to decorate the walls of his private library within the Vatican. Painted between 1509 & 1511 it represents the gathering of the philosophers of the ancient world around the central figures of Plato & Aristotle. The piece can be considered as a Renaissance installation in which the walls ceiling and floor contributed to the environment the painter created for his patron. The four Fresco’s that cover the walls reflects the subjects that sit beneath within the private library, dividing and categorizing the knowledge into fragments. Although sited in Italy the painting is very much rooted in Athens, using
Architecture within the city as framing devices to set up a narration of western thought, debate and exchange.
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I deduced 3 points & characteristics from this initial investigation:

1 The fictional Romanized interior in which great philosophers from different times sat side by side has the ability to collapse time into one architectural scene.

2 Rules such as Euclidean Geometry can be applied to a two dimensional plane. However they can only be proven in three dimensions. These proof’s include Platonic and Archimedean solids. Therefore an exchange between 2D & 3D generates ‘proof’ and ultimately ‘truth’.

3 Building these solids in three dimensional space re quires the construction of peripheral & sacrificial geometries. A set of rules orbits the object in focus and describes its manifestation.
With this in mind I set out to find a contemporary lens of viewing the city of Athens. Instagram’s method of collecting and presenting images is inherently time based and collapses a time-line into a 2D feed of information. I began by extracting an hour’s worth of top Instagram photos with the hash-tag ‘Athens’. A process of deduction and fragmentation began, which manifested in a series of collaged pieces of city that are built around that length of time.
Photogrammetry
Inputting the images into Photogrammetry software removes layers of authorship and intervention by the user, creating a pure translation between the picture plane and three dimensional space. Photogrammetric processing of digital images generates 3D spatial data and digital geometry. In an attempt to conform to the rules of the image the algorithm bridges meshes, forming spatial accidents and unforeseen juxtapositions. This continual fragmentation, deconstruction and reconstruction builds new territories between the perceived. A process of refinement began by testing the tool’s through controlled digital environments, rendering & physical models in an attempt to understand this new working method, one which would be taken towards an architectural proposition.
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Public Forum
The proposition is situated upon Pnyx Hill, which was used for popular assemblies in Athens as early as 507 BC, when the reforms of transferred political power to the citizenry. Using the translation process developed previously a new public forum sits alongside its ancient counterpart.
Image gathering and subsequent three dimensional generation through Photogrammetry will construct a new, ever changing civic landscape, housing debate chambers, consultation, educational and public spaces. This new infrastructure will facilitate current planning policies, legislations to address the lack of organised public debate space for both citizens and stakeholders to express opinion around newt policies. Currently all legislation is uploaded to a digital repository known as the Open Government Forum as part of https://et.diavgeia.gov.gr/. The projects will solidify this forum, increasing data transparency between the Athenian citizens and institutions.null
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