Elective at semester(s) 5, 7, 9, ECTS: 3
The Greek cities, particularly Athens, are undergoing a most unexpected transformation. Their density, both in terms of programmatic intensity and built volume, tends to dramatically decline. Apartments, shops, sometimes whole buildings and even city blocks are abandoned (some are even demolished), due to a series of reasons related to, but not necessarily caused by, the current economic catastrophic downturn. This urban thinning comes at exactly the time when more and more voices are calling for a greener city and more natural lifestyles.
These seem to genuinely imply a case for developing strategies of urban thinning. The course focuses on the formation of the typical Athenian city block as an inescapable inheritance and attempts to devise methods of urban de-densification. Unblocking the city is conceived of as a major transformation, an undoing that is ironically symmetrical to the city’s own making. As such it cannot be left to chance or the ruthless dynamics of economy alone. The architectural framework of this transition needs to be systematized in the same manner as a growing urban fabric needs a building law to coordinate and set the limits of its growth.
The studio deals with imagining and designing paradigmatic blocks of a thinner Athens by intervening on a number of existing city blocks in Gyzi, a densely built but sparsely populated area of the city.