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A Primary School for a Future Nation, Athens 2013

Part 2 Project 2012
Ifigeneia Liangi
Bartlett School of Architecture (UCL) London UK
In Athens 2013, lives the allegorical story of a primary school in magic realism. The school is a model for a future greek nation. Its narrative is refecting on the question “what is the Greek crisis?”, proposing an organised microcosm that responds that “the crisis is not just economic, but it is a social and political phenomenon rooted in the recent history of Greece.” The building is located in a devastated area of central Athens, the neighbourhood of Kipseli. Its programme is a combination of lecture spaces for the immigrant primary school students of the area with student halls for the local university students, who would give teaching support to the children in the afternoon hours, an event promoting the interaction of the locals with the immigrants for their future integration in the greek society.

This new microcosm, also responds that “the Greek crisis is rooted in the ways in which the country is dealing with its past and as a consequence, its present and near future.” Using elements of contemporary monuments of the city, (the columns of the National Bank of Greece designed by Mario Botta, a cinema that got burnt during the riots, a King's statue), the city's recent past reappears in the school, transformed. The school is inhabited by 300 students. The team that eventually rules the school is the one that brings in the most oranges. The school breeds and promotes rules and events (the gleaning of oranges that leads to the obligatory interaction of the neighbourhood's inhabitants) as well as ideas (the transparency of a system - seen on the orange counting facade) that deal with present socio-political issues of the country, refecting on the value of civic responsibility for the confrontation of a crisis and forming a propositional critique to contemporary Greece. Through its journey within an allegorical narrative, the project weaves an argument for the possibility of an imaginative approach and articulation being a critical methodology for the production of spaces with political signifcance and impact during historical periods of crisis.

Ifigeneia Liangi

Tutor(s)

Ms Elizabeth Dow
Mr Jonathan Hill
2012
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