Saturday, 20 September 2008


The canopy as an architectural element is the structure that covers the archaeological site. However, more than a roof it becomes a structure that gives the means to the user to engage with the process of familiarizing with the historical site and inhabiting it. The site becomes a ‘garden’ of pleasures: the pleasure of investigating history and its manifestations.


Our proposition:

This is a bilateral project. Namely it consists of two parts: a design and a narrative part, or a visual and a verbal part. One of the aims of this project is the development of an experimental relationship between the two parts.
The first part involves the design of a structure-device for experiencing the site: ‘200-metres-southwards-the-Green-Line’. This is about the archaeological site that has been accidentally discovered at the block No165 near the Old Municipal Market in the Old City of Nicosia. The aim of the device will be an experimental engagement of the user with the historical object and- in a more profound level- with the history, the mnemonic landscape of Cyprus.
So, on the one hand, the project is a site-specific intervention. While, on the other, the project is also ‘story-specific’, as it narrates the story of Panikos (the similarity with the English word Panic is intentionally accidental), a time-mechanic who is the commissioned tuner of the mnemonic-device. The story describes his personal, tense route and his adventures in a city of functional devices (mechanical or institutional). The story concludes with a final apocalypse and awareness that the city is not worth-imagining as a rigid-functional machine, but as a bunch of wrecked devices with an eccentric and aimless character. And with bearing this in mind, just like in the Heath Robinson’s or Rowland Emett’s wittily ‘meaningless’ devices, our hero can finally relax as well.

Although the project responds mainly to the ‘Contemplation of the Historic Object’ category it may be also attached to other categories of the brief, such as the ‘coffee house and the public open space’ and the ‘souvenir shop’. Nevertheless, the term ‘contemplation’ as a condition of experiencing the historic artefact, will be challenged by the term ‘inventiveness’ and ‘experimentation’ which instead imply a more participatory engagement of the user. The use as ‘contemplation’ of the object from a physical or mental distance may then be replaced by the use as inhabitation of the object, and as engagement of the user with a playful and relaxing mood. The term ‘paper’ in the title indicates a more ephemeral aspect of the term ‘machine’. The term ‘roofless’ implies in an ironic way the condition of openness of the archaeological site and its aspect as an undocumented, unregistered site of potentialities. While the term ‘garden’ hints the ‘garden of pleasures’ as a condition for the unfolding of the users’ desires.

Wednesday, 17 September 2008


‘IN CYPRUS RELAX…AS ARCHITECTS REINTERPRET’ is the theme of this year’s participation of Cyprus in the Venice Biennale. The theme, as set by sir Peter Cook, the curator of this year’s t participation, was quite intriguing in terms of the architect’s prejudices and the content of architecture itself. The theme was really asking for speculations, experimentations and interpretations of the architectural programme, the content of architecture, the role of the architect, the impact of all these to the users. Moreover, Cyprus is a tourist destination, a place which people visit in order to engage in relaxing activities. How the architect responds to that?
There were eight projects which were selected after a nationwide competition. Among them ours: the ‘PAPER MACHINES AND THE ROOFLESS GARDEN’.
From the several themes that were set by the curators (and which you can find at the website: we chose the ‘contemplation of the historic object’.