24 July, 2014

Mechanism of Suspension

Infrastructure and legislation for free camping.

Greek version


Mechanism of Suspension is a collective project launched in March 2014. It is exhibited in the 14th International Architecture Exhibition - La Biennale di Venezia as part of the Greek Participation. According to the given brief, the commissioner required the design of a tourist accommodation unit in an idyllic, non-existent coastal landscape. Instead, the proposal develops three complementary tactics. First, an alternative legislative framework is proposed against the privatization of the coast, and in support of free access to the commons and the definition of communal use, with an emphasis on the conceptual categories of necessity and self-negation. Secondly, the project invents the conceptual device of the, paradigmatic Udamou Beach (Nowhere land) and finally, it constructs the field and the autonomous free camping infrastructure.

The project consists of a machine that reconfigures a coastal landscape to function as a field for outdoor free accommodation. It attempts to curate logistically and legislatively the territory that supports this possibility, a fundamental parameter of which is the organization of its infrastructure. The landscape that derives from this process performs as an expanded field of different zones, spatial definitions, activities and forms of living. It does not have an owner, a fence or a monitored entrance and it cannot be appropriated. It is free, reversible, and offers access to common utility networks without compensation, while any productive activity, supply or provision concerns the needs of users and inhabitants - not profit.

It is not a building but an exposed machine. A field that measures and produces energy, collects and provides water, organizes basic hygienic facilities, water supply and an irrigation network, manages waste, produces, stores and disposes food, while it materializes fundamental architectural arrangements defining its territory. The living units do not unfold within the infrastructure, but occupy the field. Lightweight tents, fabrics, and other temporary arrangements construct various units of accommodation.

The relation between infrastructure, dwelling and landscape intensifies the paradox of an otherwise free camping site designed as an open machine for living. The often hidden parts of a building - cables, pipes, tanks, boilers, storage, cranes, refrigerators, kitchens, toilets, basins and faucets - are uncovered "in the middle of nowhere", exposing the sheer size of all things considered as the "minimum necessary". How can we expose the limits - political and social - of the ruthless exploitation and privatization that the current economy and way of life enforce?



Team: Alexandra Vougia, Theodossis Issaias, Platon Issaias
Author of Proposed Legislation/Advisor: Thanos Zartaloudis, lawyer - academic
Collaborators: Alexandros Avlonitis, architect, Chrysoula Korovesi, media artist, Ilias Matsas, mechanical engineer, Stavros Milonas, architect, Prelab, Prototyping and Reverse Engineering - Athens


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