Detached

Participation in the exhibition “The Minimum Structure” curated by Apostolis Artinos (Romantso, October 2014).

Panos Dragonas, Varvara Christopoulou, Architects.

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From mid-19th century on, the desire to escape from the city is at the heart of many fascinating narratives. At Martin Heidegger’s hütte in the Black Forest, at Le Corbusier’s cabanon in Cap Martin, as well as Michelangelo Antonioni’s “L’avventura” on the Aeolian Islands, the modern subject is looking for moments of peace and mediation away of the city buzz. The heterotopia of the hut is created in parallel with the development of the 20th century metropolis. The hut is a small residential structure in remote locations. Its primary form seems rooted in the ground. While the minimum dimensions of its cabin may cover only the basic living needs.

The Dawn of L'avventura [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IlHcReu_w3U]

Michelangelo Antonioni, L’avventura, 1960.

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Edward Hopper, Office in a Small City, 1953 (Source: http://www.metmuseum.org)

During the 21st century, there are no remote locations. The planet has been explored and digitally mapped in every latitude and longitude. The media and social networks bring the public sphere in every corner of the world. During the new Great Depression, the city dweller’s opportunities to isolate and mediate become increasingly difficult. More than ever, the post-modernist subject remains trapped between the real space of megacities and the digital world of computer networks.

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The indisputable dominance of the urban condition and the exploitation of the countryside, are shifting the quest for new heterotopic structures in the urban area. The new hut is not created on the natural ground, but on the urbanscape of the Athenian terraces, only two meters over the rooftop of a typical “polykatoikia”. The minimum possible distance from the urban surface allows for the contemplation of the city from a different viewpoint. In nine square meters of surface area, the cabin provides the minimum equipment that is required for temporary escapes and contemplation. Offering views of an artificial landscape, consisting of antennas, solar panels and insulation materials, the new structure allows for the minimum detachment from the suffocating environment of the contemporary Greek city. The urban hut creates a voluntary isolation cell over the ruins of the new Great Depression. The hut returns to the city both as a primary form and as a standard of minimum living, and establishes a heterotopia in the stepped skyline of Athens.

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posted in Design fiction by panosdragonas

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