The arc-periodic Housing Infrastructure in Nicosia, Cyprus
Paper published in: ed. Christakis Chatzichristou and Kirsten Day, Housing the Future. International Perspectives on Housing – Theory, Practice, Design and Education. Series Editor: Graham Cairns. Oxfordshire, UK: Libro Publishing, 2017. Platon Issaias with Giannis Papadopoulos.
The paper presented the 7th semester design studio in the School of Architecture, University of Cyprus, of the fall semester of the academic year 2015-16. The studio proposed a rather open brief, aiming to problematize the domestic in the context of the south part of the island. We asked the students to design an infrastructure for periodic/temporary housing in the city of Nicosia, leaving many parameters open for the participants to define according to their own brief. The part of the city, the specific plot or network of plots, the actual size of the building(s), the typological logic, and of course the primary unit or units had to be outlined according to the social subject the project aimed to address and formalize. Apart from a few crucial numbers – number of units (up to 100), number of inhabitants (200), area devoted to housing (2000sqm) and public programmes (60% of the previous) – all other issues of density, diffusion and organization had to reflect the intentions of each project. Moreover, the public character and use of the complex or the network of the proposed buildings was essential, since we considered these as central to the nature of the housing infrastructure we asked our students to develop. The levels of privacy and publicness, the organization of circulation and the extent of which otherwise typical domestic facilities could expand as communal uses into the public realm were also left as open questions for the students to respond to. The students were called to research the crucial transformations of contemporary forms of living and the fundamental shifts occurring in the domestic environments across the world. New forms of work and labour, co-sharing, multi-generational housing, and of course extreme conditions of inequality in regards to access to decent housing are clear indications of an acute crisis, a visible result of neoliberal, planetary urbanization.
Andreas Birros, Laoura Tziourrou ‘2.20 x 17’.
University of Cyprus, Department of Architecture, ‘The Arc’, fall semester 2015-16