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School / Gambling Casino

Part 1 Project 2000
Pieros Pieris
Oxford Brookes University UK
The first project emerged from the brief to represent a space from a movie. I chose Emir Kusturitsa's "Underground" as my theme. "Underground" is an allegorical movie, which depicts the history of Yugoslavia from the Second World War till the present. A series of maps were drawn in order to record the continiously transforming nature of the underground space. A more in depth analysis led to the creation of another series of mappings investigating the geographical, political, social and economical landscape of Yugoslavia. These two sets of drawings were then superimposed in order to reveal the ephemeral of not only the underground space, but the whole country's as well.
In "Underground" the bike is used as a device to provide the space with light. Similarly, the cyclist generates power through the dynamo.The alternative power of the dynamo is then transform into current, through a specially designed circuit, switching on the projectors, which project the two readings of the drawings.

A quote of Rem Koolhaas describes the concept of my second project: " The new urbanism will not be based on the twin fantasies of order and omnipotence. It will no longer be about meticulus definitions, the imposition of limits, but about expanding notions, denying boundaries, not about separating and identifying identities but about discovering unamable hybrids;...Since the urbn is now pervarsive, urbanism will no longer be about the NEW, only about the MORE and the MODIFIED..."
The building is post-urban, is political, is polemical. Its a community centre with a local orientated casino and an experimental school.To place the classrooms inside the casino, is to imagine actions in places that have not being designed for them;This drive to create unprogrammed events reveals interesting and astonishing possibilities;The building juxtaposes and organises education and entertainment into a single space.It creates a heterogenious space of two programs. The building is then engaged in a process of deprograming, which consists of questioning the initial programs and carring out seminal interpratations. This opening to new objects implies an absence of prejudice concerning the result.

Pieros Pieris

The project emerged from a brief to construct and record a film of a journey. Pieros used the film as an analytical tool, to make a theoretical reading of the city of Las Vegas. The critique developed through this was supplemented with extensive research, architectural, urban geographical, social, cultural and political, both of the immediate context of Las Vegas and the broader theoretical context.

Pieros constructed a brief for the school and casino and was able to develop a continuous, reflexive, analysis and discourse around the subject matter, through drawings, models and texts. The project was ambitious in this respect, to construct two major, spatial and architectural functions for the CDP mnd a critical overlap of these functions, which he chose to study and design in detail. It was also ambitious in it's aim to construct, through an architecture, a reading of the space of the city.

The formulation of his own brief was rigorous and it's resolution included the following:

Analysis of the contexts of the site and wider issues of the city (migrant population/ employment and use of the casinos by tourists and residents/ education in the USA, the car and it's status, etc), city edges, future development, desert landscape.

The development of two schedules of accommodation and critical overlap sites.

The construction of an overall design frame for the architecture and a detailed resolution of the journey within the building (fulfilling the journey brief beyond it's limits), including the landscape design. This resolution can be seen in both the detailed design of the journey through the building and, the spaces where the school/ casino function engage or divide, using materials and junction details to enhance or separate users through acoustics, visual and other physical/ sensorial designs.

The importance of the project in terms of it's contribution to the current architectural debate is clear in every aspect of design resolution, from concept to detail design and material specification. It demonstrates most clearly the creative, intellectual and practical skills of a student of architecture and, provides a platform for the student to take up a theoretical, practical architectural position for his future design work. It is a portfolio which clearly exemplifies the combination and application of theory and practice essential for architectural design.

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