Unit 06: Civic Fit

Unit brief

Civic Fit

Unit 06 offers students a choice of two settings: Athens, Greece; or Belmonte, Calabria. They are both migrant gateways offering apposing civic scales within which the drama of urban change is being played out: Athens the classical city transformed into a vibrant metropolis and Belmonte the abandoned hill village.

Students will be concerned with the idea of Loose Fit when things are made at different times and then endure; so that made pieces fit with both past fabric and future needs. Proposals will need to be spatially, materially and temporally re-grounded in actual settings and crucially re-scaled, re-validated and re-named. This requires architecture to act as a structured process of civic democracy rather than being a fossilised commodity.

Athens used to be the gateway to Europe for people fleeing war in Afghanistan and Syria. But now families are trapped by asylum regulations in camps or housed in worn, often empty, Domino-style reinforced concrete ‘Polykatoikia’ landscapes. Out of this political stasis has emerged an outpouring of voluntary effort. A discourse around how to initiate Greece’s first programme of social housing for all residents has begun, a debate which will continue this year.

Belmonte sits alongside the road to Europe for West African refugees. There are opportunities for a meaningful fit between this empty and neglected but evocative landscape and the needs of both residents and visitors. Students will continue to engage here over the coming year.

Shed full of donated clothes in Malakasa refugee camp, Athens

Details

Course Professional Diploma in Architecture - RIBA 2
Tutors Professor Maurice Mitchell
Francesca Pont
Dr Bo Tang
Jane McAllister
Sandra Denicke-Polcher
Where

Goulston Street
Room GS1-19a

When Monday and Thursday

Professional Diploma in Architecture (RIBA part II)

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