In the summer of 2015, refugees from the Middle East took temporary shelter in Victoria Square, Athens, en route to Western Europe. Since then, the square has become a nexus of the refugee crisis, with an extended solidarity network providing shelter and guidance.
“VICTORIA: Way In/Way Out” imagines the space of Victoria Square as a paradigm for the future of the Mediterranean city. Two intersecting urban entities embody competing forms of citizenship: the “Shelter,” emerging within the concrete frames of former polykatoikies, or apartment blocks, replaces the guarantees of citizenship with a flexible solidarity network of small, live-in “factories,” where a diverse population redefines productivity through the exchange of knowledge, products, and services for a post-capitalist society. The “Transparent State” is a controlled-access, technocratic network of radically privatized infrastructures and public spaces, where citizenship is a service that grants freedom of movement in exchange for limited rights, and universal surveillance guarantees safety.
Victoria Square itself has been transformed into a new Crystal Palace, or “Embassy,” negotiating access to the Transparent State. The transitory nature of human occupation is everywhere on display, mediated by control points, waiting rooms, and prepared experiences, whereby individuals may or may not be granted further access.
Styliani Daouti, Giorgos Mitroulias, Michaeljohn Raftopoulos.
Architect assistant, Katerina Vassiliou.
Funded by the Onassis Cultural Center as part of the exhibition “Tomorrows, Urban Fictions for Possible Futures.”
AREA is a professional Athens-based architecture practice established in 2006 by Styliani Daouti, Giorgos Mitroulias and Michaeljohn Raftopoulos. In an age where everyone seems to be asking “what” and “how much”, AREA insists on asking “why” and “how”. AREA’s work has featured in numerous international exhibitions, awards and academic appointments. areaoffice.gr