Design Studio Required Elective at semester(s) 6, 8, ECTS:
The expanded definition of "care"
The concept of care has traditionally been associated with services provided under state welfare policies (e.g. hospitals, old people's homes, nurseries) or with care practices within the family which have been identified mainly with unpaid female domestic work or, more recently, with cheap, often informal, migrant labour. The issue of care has been raised by feminist movements since the 1970s. But it has returned dynamically to the debate more recently--in Greece as well--in the context of studying globalization and migration and the social/economic changes brought about by the restriction of welfare policies, the generalization of precarious working conditions by neoliberal policies to manage the recent economic crisis (Vaiou 2013).
Going beyond the conventional understanding of the term, the course adopts the expanded definition attributed to the concept of care by contemporary feminist approaches as encapsulated in the quote below from Berenice Fisher and Joan Tronto:
On the most general level, we suggest that caring be viewed as a species activity that includes everything we do to maintain, continue, and repair our ‘world’ so that we can live in it as well as possible. That world includes our bodies, our selves, and our environment, all of which we seek to interweave in a complex, life-sustaining web. (“Toward a Feminist Theory of Caring,” 1990)
It also draws on recent elaborations of the concept of care in the field of architectural theory as part of the search for an alternative ethical/political attitude towards the social and ecological challenges of the contemporary era. The role of architecture and design is revisited and situated at the intersection of alternative practices of care, economy, ecology, and labor (Fitz and Krasny 2019). Αrchitecture’s potential contribution to the enhancement of collective actions, networks of solidarity and mutual aid, the management of commons, and spatial policies with goals for social and environmental justice is further explored.
Architectures of care: The reuse of ‘Kitrini Apothiki’
Contemporary approaches to "care" will be a source of inspiration for the theoretical/design experiments that the course will attempt in the city of Volos by focusing on the significant historical building ‘Kitrini Apothiki’ [Yellow Warehouse] (1926-30) (see Φασουράκης 2017). In addition to highlighting the important histories associated with the former tobacco warehouse (such as industrialization, the labor movement, occupation and resistance), we will approach the building mainly as a critical infrastructure in the city center with multiple possibilities to enhance urban sustainability and social diversity. The project of reusing the building allows us to explore a grid of design experimentations with building programs and materialities in the general direction of shaping architectures of "care”:
- caring for the city through the preservation and reuse of the built.
- caring for the past, history and memory through the reinforcement of structures and alternative communities and processes of archiving and knowledge production
- caring for the environment through the provision of structures with a reduced ecological/energy footprint.
[Comprehension, Analysis, Synthesis]
The course will be developed in two distinct, mutually reinforcing tracks that correspond to defined stages of student work:
Α. In the first stage, mixed-use building programs will be developed to create a center of the collection/protection/study of archives, such as physical or digital records (e.g. documents, photographs, maps, etc.) and/or various categories of objects (paintings, artworks, furniture, etc.). These will include complementary functions for employees and visitor and services attracting wider audiences. The mix of uses, the building program, and the identity of the center can be drawn from the following:
- The synergy of existing institutional structures and other organized or informal practices of production, protection, and study of archival collections based in the city of Volos: such as the General Archives of the State (Department of Magnesia), research groups of the PTH, oral history groups, online communities, etc.
- Alternative collection practices: from traditional seed banks to recycling processes of architectural/construction materials and objects (furniture, fixtures, etc.) (see e.g. Rotor Deconstruction).
Explorations of alternative (and hypothetical) archives, collections and archival practices that draw on the particular history, geography, economy of Volos and Thessaly more broadly are also encouraged. In addition, special emphasis will be placed on ways of highlighting the visibility of different social groups not only in history but also in the contemporary and future city.
Β. In the second stage, the possibilities of moderate and targeted interventions in the material structure of the building will be explored through the use of alternative materials with a low ecological footprint (e.g. reusable materials or materials produced in local units within Thessaly and within Greece, etc.). The emphasis on the materiality of new interventions is a critical parameter of the reuse of the historic building, the definition of the urban identity of the new uses and the future role of the reused building in the neighborhood and the wider city. By designing with materials in mind, the aim is to identify:
- The materiality/atmosphere of the new uses and their relationship to the existing materialities of the historic tobacco warehouse building (reinforced concrete and load-bearing masonry)
- The material form of the extensions which will both accommodate the new uses and enhance the internal circulation and access of persons and objects to and from the building.
- The exploration of a vertical extension with the possibility of partial or total redesign of the building's roof.
The experimentation with alternative materials with a low ecological footprint allows us to reflect on the critical role of architecture in changing the culture of design, construction and economy oriented towards drastically reducing the processes of extraction, use and transport of materials across the planet.
Fitz, A. Krasn E. and Architekturzentrum Wien (eds.), 2019. Critical Care: Architecture and Urbanism for a Broken Planet, Vienna: Architekturzentrum Wien; Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Books and Articles
Αδαμάκης Κ., 2009. Τα Βιομηχανικά Κτίρια του Βόλου, Εκδόσεις Π.Ι.Ο.Π.
Van Boeschoten, R. and Antoniou, A.  The Spectre of the Yellow Warehouse: Transitions in Memory. In: Camps of Transit, Sites of Memory, edited by Roberta Mira. Oxford, United Kingdom: Peter Lang Verlag (υπό έκδοση).
Bαν Μπούσχοτεν, Ρ. Δαλκαβούκης, Β. και Καλλιμοπούλου Ε. (επιμ.). 2021. Προφορική Ιστορία και Αντι-Αρχεία: Φωνές, Εικόνες και Τόποι. Βόλος: Ένωση Προφορικής Ιστορίας. [ebook]
Dzierżawska, Z., & Malterre-Barthes, C. 2022. Graphic Novel: A Global Moratorium on New Construction, Architectural Review. Ανάκτηση 21 Φεβρουαρίου 2022, https://www.architectural-review.com/essays/graphic-novel-a-global-moratorium-on-new-construction
Φασουράκης, H. 2017. “AMERICA TOBACCO”, ΣΕΚΕ, ΕΘΝΙΚΟΣ ΟΡΓΑΝΙΣΜΟΣ ΚΑΠΝΟΥ (Ε.Ο.Κ.), στο Βακαλοπούλου Μ., Δανιήλ Μ., Λαμπρόπουλος Χ., Φασουράκης Η. (επιμ.), 2017, Βιομηχανικά Δελτία Απογραφής (www.vidarchives.gr/reports/2017_03_928).
Χαστάογλου, Β. 2007. Βόλος, το Πορτραίτο μιας Πόλης από το 19ο αιώνα έως Σήμερα. Βόλος: Δημοτικό Κέντρο Ιστορίας και Τεκμηρίωσης Βόλου.
Space Caviar (ed.) Non Extractive-Architecture: On Designing without Depletion, London: Sternberg Press.
Cosmolocalism: Design global, Manufacture local, https://cosmolocalism.eu
Material Cultures, https://materialcultures.org
Rotor Deconstruction, https://rotordc.com
Archives and Collections
Αρχείο οπτικοασκουστικών μαρτυριών - Εργαστήριο Ιστορίας (ΙΑΚΑ ΠΘ)
Ομάδα Προφορικής Ιστορίας Βόλου – ΟΠΙΒΟ