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City of Myrilene >
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Life jacket >
Material enquiries >>
Volume of an average person 66.4 ltr >
Dimensions and space requirements
for an average person >>
Archive, Korakas (plans) >
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Archive, Korakas (model) >
Appeals Court, Moria (plan) >>
Appeals Court, Moria (plan) >
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Social Council, Mytilene (plan) >>
Social Council, Mytilene (plan) >
Social Council, Mytilene (section) >>
Social Council, Mytilene (model) >
European Parliament formulated Algorithm >>
Danish document >
Greek document >>
The Declaration of human rights
Migration is a complex set of processes, economies and abstractions. In the island of Lesvos, these processes are further complicated with the historical disputes between Turkey and Greece, where the delimitation of territorial waters, national airspace, exclusive economic zones and the use of the continental shelf have made the Aegean problem stretch over half a century.
Recognising the conditions and processes by which the displaced Syrian people reach the island of Lesvos forces us to look beyond questions of shelter and its provision and into the reorganisation of political and legal processes for these individuals.
This project proposes a United Nations embassy, located on the Island of Lesvos, Greece. It consists of an archive of case law (consulting the displaced on case law regarding asylum and appeals for asylum), an appeals court (resolves disputes between individuals and the registration office decisions) and a social council (addresses cooperation between states and individuals regarding transit and asylum).
The resulting design explores the processes by which people and bodies are abstracted by finance, law or human rights, and converts these into a design tool for the reorganisation of power relations within institutional settings. In doing so the project explores new forms of institutional architecture.
What can the role of architecture be in the current migrant crisis?
This project proposes a United Nations embassy, located on the Island of Lesvos, Greece.
The embassy is spread over three key locations:
/ Korakas, the Coast located 10km away from the shores of Turkey in the north.
/ Moria, between the official UNHCR camp and the unofficial anarchic camp.
/ Mytilene, a swimming pool in the port of the capital city of the island.
The island is a critical point on the journey from Syria to europe where the displacement of people have given rise to the displacement of architecture.
Where the lighthouse of Korakas (used as a deterrent from the perilous terrains) becomes a beacon to draw the displaced to the island. The unofficial anarchic camp is born as a response to the fortified UNHCR camp, in Moria.
And the swimming pool, within the port of Mytilene, becomes a shelter for those waitingto board ships for the mainland.
The island of Lesvos (Greece) is in a strategic location, as the frontier to the european union. The proximity it has to Turkey, and the fact that over half a million displaced individuals have crossed over to the island from these shores in a time frame of 6 months in 2015 has made it a unique case within the crisis.
Migration is a complex set of processes, economies and abstractions. In the case of the island of Lesvos, these processes are further complicated with the historical disputes between Turkey and Greece, where the delimitation of territorial waters, national airspace, exclusive economic zones and the use of the continental shelf have made the aegean problem stretch over half a century. These issues have been important for me to consider given its intersection with the mode of transport of the displaced reaching the island through illegal means.
Recognising the phases and processes allows to look beyond questions of shelter and its provision and in turn allows to set up possibilities to reorganise political and legal processes for the displaced.
Tensions between subjects, objects and economies are extremely evident on the island. I carried out field research twice, talking to volunteers, key ngo staff, the displaced as well as the locals, I was able to discover various objects of interactions, new economies that have come of existence with the influx of the displaced. From Telephone companies setting up stands outside the camps, to local shops adapting their stock to cater for the displaced, to scavengers searching for boat parts to supplement their monthly income.
These objects reveal the economies and modes of living generated around the influx of the displaced, showing the vast effect that the displaced have on space and the formation of space on route to and in Europe. These objects are to be seen as part of the architecture and not just street furniture.
I argue that the body is the most important register of the various forces at play along these routes. For this reason I decided to inquire into the repetition and distortion of bodies in the following machines:
/ Smuggling process - Precarious and costly (both economically and physically) means of transport, with no regard for human safety. Shown here with the life jacket (the fact that they are fake is a testament to the corners cut in the economics of smuggling).
/ inquiries into the Legal, Juridical and smuggling processes are physically engrained in the small plastic cube and bronze rectangular objects within the process of melting, forming, scanning, printing, sand casting and subsequently bronze casting.
/ Volume of an average man (66.4 litres) - this study reveals the proportions of an average person optimised for transport (cargo).
The first intervention is an archive of case law. Consulting the displaced on case law regarding asylum and appeals for asylum. Recommends laws to the court of appeals as well as the displaced arriving to the island.
Designed to sit within the abandoned buildings adjacent to the lighthouse, the arriving individuals are greeted by an archivist, who outlines the function of the building. visitors are then taken over to the reading room, and the relevant documents (written in multiple languages) are brought to them to study. These documents are simplified for those with minimal legal terminology. The tower of law and appeals will expand and grow vertically with new cases.
The building also houses a small theatre for general consultation to take place. The building has no lateral openings, as shutting out the views allows to reveal the legal landscape.
This intervention is essentially two buildings set one on top of the other. Located between the two camps, close to the registration centre. The form is an inversion of a dome on a square plan.
The court resolves disputes between individuals and the registration office decisions. Judges sit where the oculus would be, surrounded by claimants. The seating of the claimants are defined in order to respect their individuality.
The legal space is separated from the context, working independently to assess the cases of those whom have been denied passage from the island into europe. Making contact at the tangent of the dome allowing flow from either camp.
The permanence of the building, in respect to the temporary nature of both camps, dignifies the process.
Below, in the consultation area, the judges sit on the outside, as the representatives of the displaced sit on the inside. each lawyer may represent multiple claimants due to the vast numbers of individuals.
The social council, is again in section two buildings, one on top of the other. The council addresses cooperation between states and individuals regarding transit and asylum.
The compartments beneath the swimming pool in the existing building is to be cleared and opened up, forming cantilevers to create a systematic office space. occupied by an assistance staff, with the sole purpose of forming a dialogue between individuals and nations (of which they intend to apply asylum).
The displaced, ready to depart the island, enter the building from a separate entrance, up an 8 meter wide stair case, in as a community and out as a community. The seating arrangement reconstitutes a collective as individual seating is not defined (neither by seems in the fabric, or by arm rests.
The staff of the council and the departees only meet at the centre, both in plan and section, where the swimming pool sits, for further consultation before departure. Both constituents have separate staircases.
No border control exists in the social council, travellers arrive at the port when all documentation for transit is approved, programmatic function erases the requisite for such control.
These interventions intends to address the issues brought forward by the documents and objects of interaction I have discovered during my research. And intends to uphold the international declaration of humans rights, and the spatial and ergonomic rights of man.
/ a European parliament formulated Algorithm for calculating the distribution quota of refugees to each member state, highlighting how a continental organisation perceives the mass of individuals as a figure that can be broken down with a formula.
/ a Danish document issued to dissuade refugees from seeking asylum in Denmark by threatening to confiscate their belongings, revealing the violence in border control and denial of humanitarian aid.
/ a Greek document issued to a Syrian refugee allowing him to pass through Greek borders, becomes an even more violent apparatus once this individual is recorded and subsequently tracked.
/ The Declaration of human rights adopted by the United nations in 1948.
All of the previous documents contradict the universally agreed upon declaration of human rights; Article 14 states: Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution.
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