Greece - Biennale Architettura 2016

The Greek Pavilion in the 15th International Architecture Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia, running 28 May through 27 November 2016, has been assigned to the Association of Greek Architects – Greek Union of Architects (SADAS – PEA). The Association is organising an exhibition as well as a series of architecture-related events under the title #ThisIsACo-op. Titled Reporting from the Front and curated by the Chilean architect Alejandro Aravena, the 15th International Architecture Exhibition has a social and political outlook, exploring the architect’s role in the quest to improve living conditions.

Community and Crisis
#ThisIsACo-op responds to the challenge of this year Architecture Biennale’s theme by highlighting the importance of collaboration, of joining forces, as an essential political proposition in order to deal with the multi-sided current crisis. Moreover, it investigates, processes and displays the multiple fronts of the crisis – the refugee crisis, the urban crisis, the defeat of the right to housing, the crisis hitting the architectural profession– all interdependent manifestations of the strategy for the depreciation of space as a common good.#ThisIsACo-op is a collaborative experiment, an innovative, fresh exhibition proposal, an open, bottom-up workshop. The Greek Pavilion’s curatorial team is made up of the Association members that responded to SADAS – PEA’s open call. A cooperative network was established and undertakes the implementation of al aspects of the Greek participation at the Biennale Architettura 2016, which, in addition to the exhibition, includes a series of participatory workshops and site-specific events.
Dialogue – Action – Research
The Greek Pavilion becomes a place for dialogue and action. #ThisIsACo-op is hosting discussions, encounters and events in an amphitheatrical structure that serves as a receptacle of dialogue and a symbol of participation and community. This will also serve as a reading room and a space for projections. The Greek Pavilion is a natural meeting place for architects, Associations, social movements and socially-minded individuals from Greece and the international community seeking solutions to the common fronts engendered by the crisis. It provides a space for mobilizing collective architectural bodies, locally and internationally, as well as a place for developing claims and coordinating actions towards new participatory, democratic decision-making processes for the management of space and culture.
Association of Greek Architects – Greek Union of Architects (SADAS–PEA)
The Association of Greek Architects was established in 1922 in Athens. The Association’s mission is to promote,disseminate and preserve architecture in Greece, as well as to safeguard the interests of its members. The Association's agenda includes promoting the industry’s distinctive professional identity, protecting architects’professional rights and developing a nationwide organisation.
Exhibition #ThisIsACo-op
#ThisIsACo-op is a location for assembling existing archival material and collecting new resources.The Greek Pavilion constitutes an evolving research apparatus, a dynamic archive for displaying theoretical investigations, architectural proposals and research material by groups and collectives on how to cope with the crisis. On view are documentations of spaces for preserving and surviving,  which have emerged in a Greece currently as we face a complex condition of displacement and isolation under emergency conditions. New inventive ways for providing ad-hoc solutions to space-related issues caused by the crisis conditions are also documented.
i. Refugee Crisis
Large migratory and refugee flows are the consequence of war, economicand political instability.The human flows and their bio-political management create new (yet rootedin the past) space for products and services for the legal and the illicit economyinternationally: equipment, control, restricted areas, newly available workforce.The massive flow of refugees in Greece has come at a time where thecountry’s welfare system is being dismantled by the harsh austerity programs.Toppled by the EU-Turkey agreement and the closure the Balkan route toEurope, Greece has become a prison for refugees. Responding to the crisis,solidarity networks have created temporary housing solutions for their spatial andsocial integration as opposed to the establishment of new camps.Several examples of self-organized spaces, such as Pikpa in Mytilene, the 5thLyceum and the City Plaza Hotel in Athens and the temporary shelters in variousparts of the country constitute such examples of solidarity and inclusion efforts.
ii. UrbanCrisis
A city in crisis, Athens, is a special case study: The Athenian urbancondition is a complex crisis phenomenon, with global, European, as well asuniquely local elements, manifesting itself at many levels: inequality, socialdisintegration, rapid impoverishment and general insecurity, economic collapse,abandonment of the city center and violence. In this context, the neoliberal agendais being implemented with aggressive privatizations, neglect of the public spaceand evictions. Due to the latter a large part of the population is facing housingproblems, exacerbating the situation.While city areas are hard-hit, and the city itself appears to be in decline,experimental social initiatives strive to fill the institutional gaps, and new forms ofcommons, both material and immaterial, are being created.Out of these complex parallel developments, the durability and viability ofthe city are being tested as the city enters a transition towards a new, unknowncondition.
iii. Space as Commons
Architects, political scientists, scholars, collaborative initiatives, grassrootsmovements and other entities in Greece argue that prioritizing security andprivate interests over broader social concerns threatens civil liberties anddiminishes diversity in the public realm, transforming public spaces into highlyregulated sites of consumption-based activity.The commons is a general term for shared resources in which each memberof the group has an equal interest. By extension, the term “commons” has come tobe applied to other resources to which a community has rights, or access. We referto particular rights of commons and reserve the name “common” for the landover which the rights are exercised. Land and Public space is a literal commons:the common ground where people come together as citizens, neighbors, or justfriends. The places we share – parks, streets, sidewalks, squares, playgrounds,trails, markets, waterfronts, beaches, museums, community gardens, private andpublic buildings – are the primary sites for human interaction upon which ourcommunities and economy, our democracy and societies depend.
iv. Crisis in the Architectural Profession
The crisis has greatly hit the architectural profession resulting in massiveunemployment, increase of the exploitation, the violations of working rights andconditions and the growth of migratory flows in search of work, such as the prosperousArab Gulf countries, China, and the global megalopolises of the Westernworld. While taking sides with a global neoliberal agenda, architecture plays aclear role in the current climate of social, financial and political crises and precarity.The architect’s role and the sector as a whole are being radically redefined.In a severe condition of financial and political dependency – both causeand effect of the current environment – small yet noteworthy alternative formsof architectural expression emerge, involving collaborative and participatoryprocesses, self-initiated and community-embedded architecture, alternativeeconomy, intensive and collective-labor, natural building methods, all strivingtowards social, financial, or energy-related autonomy and emancipation.
Credits: Story

Commissioner: Ministry of Environment and Energy, General Secretary of Spatial Planning and Urban Environment, Eirini Klampatsea
Curator: Association of Greek Architects, SADAS-PEA
Afentouli Eirini; Anastasopoulos Nicholas; Avgitidou Angeliki; Balaoura Olga; Banos Symeon; Barkouta Yianna; Bitrou Mara; Bletsas Christos; Chandelis Stefanos; Chatziangelidis Pavlos; Christoulia Maria; Daflos Kostas; Dalampouras Thomas; Damala Andromachi; Danou Melpo; Deligiorgi Marissia; Diamantopoulou Ivi; Dima Lina; Demopoulos Panayiotis; Disli Eleftheria; Eleftheriou Loukas; Eleftheriadis Dimitrios; Filippidou Despoina; Fiorentzakis Vasileios; Gazepis Nikos; Georgakopoulou Foteini; Georgiadis Nikos; Gialia Valia; Giannisis Dimitris; Giannopoulos Iasonas-Anastasios; Gounaridis Konstantinos; Gounaridis Prodromos; Grevia Kiki; Grozopoulos Dimitrios; Gyftopoulou Stefania; Hari Hariklia; Hasa Elisavet; Iatrou Yvonne; Inetzi Sotiria; Kakogiannis Kostas; Kallitsis Phevos; Karanastasi Elina; Karystinaiou-Εfthymiatou Ernestina; Efthymia Kasimati; Kassola Maria; Katerini Tonia; Kazeros Nikos; Kibezi Zoi; Kontinou-Chimou Stefania; Kontiza Iakovina; Kosma Anthi; Kostaropoulou Myrto; Kotionis Zissis; Kottis Ioannis; Kotsari Georgia; Koumoundouros Panagiotis K.; Kouros Panos; Koutsonanou Annita; Kyriazis Apostolos; Lada Sasa; Lampris Demetrios; Laoutaris Manos; Lavasa-Karapa Anna; Lazaris Andreas; Light art collective Beforelight; Lykourioti Iris; Lycourioti Leda; Mamalaki Panagiota; Marinaki Konstantina; Maris Eleftherios; Mavrianos Vasileios; Mavridis Mary; Michail Nafsika; Minotakis Stylianos; Mitropoulos Yiannis; Mosse Stephania; Nikoloutsou Chrysi; Noukakis Yorgis; Panagiotopoulou Vassiliki; Panetsos Georgios A.; Pangalos Panayotis; Pantazis Iason; Papadimas Giorgos; Papadopoulou Anastasia; Papadopoulou Dafni; Papagkikas Giorgos; Papanagiotou Nefeli; Paraskevopoulou Asimina; Petouri Eleni; Petra Mara; Petridis Pantelis; Platanioti Maria; Plavou Vassiliki-Maria; Psallida Julie; Sapka Anna; Sapka Eirini-Dafni; Savvidis Konstantinos; Sereti Maria; Skopelitis Efstratios; Sofianou Sofia; Sotiropoulou Tzina; Spiliadi Marilli; Spiliotopoulou Athina; Spiotta Artemisia; Stais Prodromos; Stamataki Eftychia; Stavridis Stavros; Stylidis Iordanis; Theocharis Stavros; Theodoropoulos Chrysostomos; Theodorou Constantina; Thomopoulou Christina; Tossouni Konstantina; Totsikas Panos; Traganou Jilly; Travlou Penny; Tsagkaraki Evgenia; Tsakalidou Venetia; Tsakiridou Yiouli; Tsakiropoulos Irene; Tsalikidis Ioannis; Tsironi Natassa; Tsitouris Spyros; Tsonakas Vasilis; Tzevelekou Christina; Tzirtzilaki Eleni; Valsamidis Alexandros; Vasilopoulou Parina; Vatavali Fereniki; Verteouri Anastasia; Virirakis Lefteris; Vogiatzaki Dimitra; Vyzoviti Sophia; Xenaki Maria; Zachariadi Alexandra; Zitonoulis Vaios; Zografou Dafni

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