Out of Architecture? The Exodus and a Multitude of Outcomes
Essay in: #ThisIsACo-op, catalogue of the Greek participation #ThisIsACo-op in the 15th Venice Architectural Biennale (commissioner: Association of Greek Architects). Elisavet Hasa.
It is important that we see the development of architecture through the emergence of a new community of architects within the context of the fundamental restructuring of society which is taking place at present. We are in a period of unprecedented diversity, change, and uncertainty which is characterised by a host of new approaches as well as by conventional methods. New architectural practices are devising a new role for architects, who will be the enablers in the ‘designing’ of the neighbourhood and of the city, while, at the same time, they themselves will join local and international collectivities, combining techniques of the profession with new organisational practices. This approach includes many of the practices which have made their appearance after the outbreak of the economic crisis: decentralisation instead of concentration, self-help and self-organisation instead of dependence, participatory, direct democracy in contrast with representative democracy, horizontal networking as a refusal of hierarchy, definition of long-term, instead of short-term, aims. We can already find in the city of Athens architects who are active on the basis of the new practices. In recent years, various examples are on record of the joint shaping of free spaces or buildings in Athens either as a result of claims by citizens or of collective initiatives. Architects are involved in these initiatives by their practice playing an active role in Athens issues and in responding to the new social/ economic problems and the new urban struggles. The Navarino Park in Exarcheia , the Dimosio Sima Park in Metaxourgeio, are three different categories and patterns of involvement of the architect in the new framework of the shaping of urban space.