Beyond the Crisis: Athens as a Case Study. A Seminar with Platon Issaias.

The Berlage, hosted by TU Delft.spiritokouto
Second year graduation studio
Housing Contemporary Forms of Life: A Project for Tehran

Thursday, February 21st.
TU Delft-BK, Room P, 14.00-17.00

Seminar with Platon Issaias
Beyond the Crisis: Athens as a Case Study

The presentation attempts to theorize the ‘informal’ urbanization that characterizes the contemporary Greek cities, classifying this as an immediate derivative of a complex political project. For our point of view, this was mainly displayed by architectural and urban typologies and protocols. As a case-study, the Greek cities and particularly Athens, offer a valid critique on this recent conceptions regarding the distinction between ‘informal’ and ‘formal’ urbanism. In the Greek case, what appears to be a spontaneous and un-planned urban typology is the result of a precise institutional and regulatory apparatus.
The discussion will follow the structure of Platon’s PhD research on Athens, particularly focusing on an alternative medium–cinema–and the way the city’s urban condition was presented in two feature films of the last decade, Matchbox (2003) and Dogtooth (2009). What makes these two projects significant in the discipline of architecture is the way the artists relate all of the above with the collapse of the domestic archetypes of the city: the typical apartment of the generic Athenian block, and the self-built suburban villa of rural Attica. In both cases, space is of fundamental importance, primarily because the plot is developing only within interior and introverted settings, with barely any reference on the surrounding city and landscape. By being ordinary and typical of their kind, they manage to further estrange the reality of the protagonists.
The presentation aims to explore the relation of these two significant films with the city’s contemporary condition. This will allow elaborating on and arguing the bond of the profound economic and political collapse of Greece with a particular spatial crisis that preceded it. In the last part, a series of projects for Athens will be discussed, among which the research studio contacted in Berlage Institute in 2011 by Pier Vittorio Aureli, Elia Zenghelis, Maria Giudici and Platon Issaias.