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Physical Divisions: The Halan Soultan Tekke museum

Part 1 Project 2011
Eleni Neophytou
Nottingham Trent University Nottingham UK
The project centres on a socio-political problem that has existed on the island of Cyprus since 1974 when a coup and invasion divided the island into two parts, the North and the South. One of the distinct themes of the project is that of transmission, focusing on how traumatic memories are transmitted and are very strongly alive in present society, how they change from individual experiences to culturally impeded ones and through the years create physical divisions.

The chosen site is the main Salt Lake located on the west of the town of Larnaca, in the south part of the country. Located by the salt lake is a mosque, a place of significant historical value for people on both sites, a place of lost remembrance of the years before the war where people lived together in harmony.

The project goes through a process of de-traumatising, remembering and unifying via a museum, a memorial and a series of spaces to be used by younger generations consisting of studios and workshops. The architecture entails the extension of the existing path of the mosque and creates spaces within it, leading the spectator to a 36 year long journey of a traumatic past.

The idea was to create a journey beginning from somewhere far away by following names engraved on walls, names of sites of lost remembrance, like this one, in both parts of the island. The aim was to demonstrate through the journey how long and strenuous the political processes have become, still affecting young generations as political parties from both sites are constantly reminding them and not letting them forget.

The project aimed to create an architecture that exists through time, that is aware of its history and symbolism that allows people to remember and forget and merges the past into history. An architecture that serves as an example and a reminder for future generations as memories define who we are, but also remind us to not repeat the mistakes of the past.

Eleni Neophytou


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