052-1104-21L  Architectural Design V-IX: Athens Derelict Plug-In (GD A. Antonakakis)

SemesterSpring Semester 2021
LecturersA. Antonakakis
Periodicityevery semester recurring course
Language of instructionEnglish
CommentPlease register (www.mystudies.ethz.ch) only after the internal enrolment for the design classes (see http://www.einschreibung.arch.ethz.ch/design.php).

Project grading at semester end is based on the list of enrolments on 2nd April 2021, 24:00 h. This is the ultimate deadline to unsubscribe or enroll for the studio!

AbstractAthens Derelict Plug-In proposes an investigation and a set of designs taking place in Athens. Projected at the many layers of the city, the design process is addressed to a palimpsest of different phases of the urban landscape. After many decades of decline of the downtown, an idiosyncratic functional void in the midst of the built city center is created.
ObjectiveThe objective of the course is to explore the urban environment and to suggest ways to improve some of its components. The way individuals and groups perceive and appropriate the city is presented and put under question in lectures and seminars, finally researched in the studio.

Of special interest will be the focus on areas where the new hybridic public domain meets the transformed domestic sphere and the diffuse borders between them. The studio includes codification of quantifiable data; pinpointing of physical elements that grant some specific character to urban space; description of people’s everyday life and the possible projections of it that could transform it in the direction of the use of the available infrastructure; the design is aiming at solving specific problems, but more than this – since we will work with semi-abandoned areas of the city center – contributes to upgrading the selected areas for different forms of life.

The particular modes of thinking are projected onto an architectural production that takes under consideration the mutations that occur under the influence of different factors (historical, social, cultural, technological, but also interpretational, theoretical, and critical).
ContentAthens Derelict Plug-In proposes an investigation and a set of designs taking place in Athens. Projected at the many layers of the city, the design process is addressed to a palimpsest of different phases of the urban landscape. After many decades of decline of the downtown, an idiosyncratic functional void in the midst of the built city center is created. The city center was mostly used at its ground floor, hosting mostly shops, bars and restaurants, while the multistoried buildings in it (polykatoikies, or office ensembles, and high manufacturing buildings) were usually abandoned at the upper parts of the modern constructions. Today partly inhabited by users of the common internet infrastructure, Athens downtown is more and more served by independent courier and food delivery services that circulate goods and food coming from invisible peripheral warehouses and ghost kitchens. It is operating by elaborate ordering or more complicated logistic systems of classification, digital control of the provisions and response to order making. In this sense, the project beyond its specificity becomes an architectural essay about the transformation of the decline of the city into a post-pandemic state; an unconditional investigation about the use of infrastructure operating on a multitude of scales. Such new urban arrangements become important not only for Athens, but also for cities becoming ghosts elsewhere. This generic new field of research is projected at an existing unfunctional urban organism in order to test the options of its possible promises for new forms of life.

Athens Derelict Plug-In is a project that investigates the relationship of the general condition of networks to the idiosyncratic field of a doubly ruined city. The presence of the ancient layers of the city, whose remains still lie under the new constructions of modern Athens, is doubled by this modern ruin being touched by the economic turmoil of the last decades; both invisible and visible ruins act as a promising field to deal with a different architecture. The abandoned existing structures in the midst of a developed network can open alternative understandings of what their inhabitation could mean. “The program for an unlimited extension of networks to a neutral field” – if we can name the process of urbanization this way – is expanded already on the internet and reinforced as a new set of facilities to which the derelict material city can be connected. Data infrastructure, besides determining the functioning of the city, can open the city for a different character of use. The presence of the infrastructure constitutes a new type of empty space which can be experienced as hybridic in many senses.
LiteratureGilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia, trans. Brian Massumi (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1987) Marc Augé, Non-places: Introduction to an Anthropology of Supermodernity (London: Verso, 1995) David Harvey, Spaces of Global Capitalism: Towards a Theory of Uneven Geographical Development (London: Verso, 2006) James Bridle, New Dark Age: Technology and the End of the Future, (London: Verso, 2018). Graham Harman, Tool-Being: Heidegger and the Metaphysics of Objects (Chicago: Carus, 2002), Graham Harman, Object-Oriented Ontology: A New Theory of Everything, (London: Penguin Books, 2018). Manuel Castells, The Informational City: Information Technology, Economic Restructuring, and the Urban-Regional Process (Oxford: Blackwell, 1989). Manuel Castells, Rise of the Network Society Edward Hollis, The Secret Lives of Buildings, Portobello Books, 2009. Alberto Toscano, ‘Logistics and Opposition,’ Mute, 9 August 2011, http://metamute.org. Jacques Rancière, Disagreement: Politics and Philosophy, trans. Julie Rose (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1999)
Keller Easterling, Extrastatecraft: The Power of Infrastructure Space (London: Verso, 2014). Keller Easterling, Enduring Innocence: Global Architecture and Its Political Masquerades (Cambridge, MA: MIT, 2005).
Massimo Cacciari, ‘Nomads in Prison,’ Casabella 705 (2002).
Richard Hanley, ed., Moving People, Goods, and Information in the 21st Century (New York: Routledge, 2004).
Deborah Cowen, The Deadly Life of Logistics: Mapping Violence in Global Trade (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2014), 125–127.
Jesse LeCavalier, ‘The Restlessness of Objects’, Cabinet 47 (2012)
Clare Lyster, Learning from Logistics: How Networks Change Our Cities (Basel, Berlin: Birkhäuser, 2016)
Maxwell G. Lay, Ways of the World: A History of the World's Roads and of the Vehicles That Used Them (Sydney: Rutgers University Press, 1992).
Richard de Neufville and Amedeo R. Odoni, Airport Systems: Planning, Design and Management (New York: Mc Graw Hill Education, 2003)
Mark Levinson, The Box: How the Shipping Container Made the World Smaller and the World Economy Bigger (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2008).
Deborah Cowen, ‘Containing Insecurity: Logistics Space, U.S. Port Cities, and the “War on Terror”’, in Disrupted Cities: When Infrastructure Fails, ed. Stephen Graham (Routledge, 2010)
Kushal Nahata, ‘Trends that will revolutionize logistics in 2018’, Material Handling and Logistics News, 26 December 2017, http://mhlnews.com.
Jasper Bernes, ‘Logistics, Counterlogistics and the Communist Prospect’, Endnotes 3 (September 2013), https://endnotes.org.uk.
Markus Hesse, The City as a Terminal: The Urban Context of Logistics and Freight Transport (London: Routledge, 2008).
Carolina A. Miranda, ‘The Unbearable Awkwardness of Automation’, The Atlantic, 13 June 2018, https://theatlantic.com.
Gabrielle Espredy, ‘Building Data: Field Notes on the Future of the Past’, Places Journal (September 2013), https://doi.org/10.22269/130923.
Pier Vittorio Aureli, The Possibility of an Absolute Architecture (Cambridge: MIT Press, 2011).
Prerequisites / NoticeThematic and methodic focus :
Architecture, Urban planning and development, Landscape architecture, Model making, Visualization, Representation techniques, Moving drawings, Photoshop, Video montage.

Individual work and group work, whereof 5 or more weeks group work.

Mid term crits: 16.3., 20.4., 11.5.

Costs: CHF 100.--