Redefining the concept of neighborhood for today’s cities.

As an architect, I have developed a particular interest in the design of homes, with both my diploma design project and my research thesis concerning community housing. Clarifying why I thought a community should be placed and developed inside a building as opposed to public space was fundamental. In the following text, I shall present my thought process in a concise and hopefully convincing manner.

What should young people do with their lives today? Many things, obviously. But the most daring thing is to create stable communities in which the terrible disease of loneliness can be cured.

— Kurt Vonnegut

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Lefebvre talked of moments in daily life, possibly much like the one pictured here, revealing the way to a better future society. L. S. Lowry — Lancashire Fair, Good Friday, Daisy Nook

Referring directly to post-war urban living, distinguished French philosopher and sociologist Henri Lefebvre recognized its consequences in the feeling of community it seemed to be having. He referred to “moments” in daily life that revealed the way to a better future society, moments such as big celebrations in which communities would come together. Those moments cannot but constitute simple breaks in contemporary everyday life, and there can be no fundamental changes in it without fundamental changes in the space it takes place in. …


What I wish I’d read before starting out.

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In the beginning of my thesis-writing process (and for an embarrassingly long time, in hindsight) it would not be an over-exaggeration to say that I spent as much time doing research as I spent looking up articles that, broadly, dealt with the same issue: “how to write a thesis”. Now, I never had any delusions of grandeur when it came to my academic skills, but I had also never felt as unprepared to tackle something, so insecure in my ability to see it through, so, frankly, lost. …


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Designing for tomorrow’s citizens of contemporary urban centers in an ever-changing world.

As an architect, I have developed a particular interest in the design of homes, with both my diploma design project and my research thesis concerning community housing. Clarifying the characteristics, needs and wants of potential residents should be a prerequisite to any design attempt. In the following text, I shall present in a brief manner some thoughts and findings that my exploration of these matters has resulted in.

The Value of Anticipating the Future

“If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.”

The above quote is attributed to Henry Ford, businessman and industrialist. Even though he did not invent the car or the concept of the production line, the innovations he introduced in mass manufacturing processes proved to be crucial for the larger adoption and eventual ubiquitousness of the automobile which in turn massively affected innumerable facets of human life and culture. Whether Ford ever actually uttered the words above is disputed, but it surely represents his way of thinking. One could make the argument that the architect, too, has a responsibility to recognize the emerging needs of a society, to know the potential and the dangers that accompany technological, social, economic and all other kinds of trends, and to take it all under consideration during the design process. …


The failure of architecture to appeal to the general public.

a Short Introduction

One of the many definitions of architecture is the art of designing buildings and other kinds of spatial constructions. It differs however from most other arts in that architectural works, whatever their aesthetic or even academic value may be, are also designed to cater to a specific group of people’s wants and needs and to fulfill specific functions. Furthermore, matters of safety and well-being are, or at the very least should be, an important factor in the design process. Architecture being so inseparable from its users, it would be unwise to not take their opinions into account in discussions regarding its success. The architectural press has not concerned itself with those opinions in the past, thus they have largely remained unpublicized. …


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Perspective / section from my diploma projects’ communal housing complex. Design and illustration by Athanasia Margariti and me.

Thoughts on the role and qualities of home.

As an architect, I have developed a particular interest in the design of homes, with both my diploma design project and my thesis concerning community housing. Clarifying the role of the home in a person’s life and the characteristics it ideally has is a prerequisite to any design attempt. In the following text I shall present in a brief manner some thoughts and findings that my exploration of these concepts has resulted in.

A House is not a Home

The home is the center around which the daily life of people of most cultures’ revolves. When we talk about homes, we usually refer to buildings used to shelter people. Indeed, this condition is enough for a building to be called a home. However, looking at all the ways the word home is used in everyday language (for example, “home is where the heart is”, “a man’s home is his castle”), one swiftly realizes that providing shelter is only one of the needs a home responds to — and in reality, it is the minimum requirement. …


“Il n’ya pas de hors texte…” — Jacques Derrida

“There is no outside-text.” Perhaps Jacques Derrida’s best-known quote. The French philosopher explained his ambivalent phrase as such: There is nothing outside its context. Every object is given meaning and is perceived in relation to a broader frame of reference. We can imagine this frame as a web of objects that are affected and affect each other. The object is defined by multiple socioeconomic, cultural, spatial and other factors and takes part in processes that shape those factors in such an interconnected manner, that it becomes impossible to refer to a distinct item existing independent of any frame. …


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Winning Proposal of Melbourne’s Flinders Street Station competition. Image Courtesy of HASSELL + Herzog & de Meuron

Examining its use in contemporary processes.

Participation in the Design of Spaces

Distinguished architect Daniel Libeskind has stressed that a city consists of its citizens and that they, in the spirit of democracy, should be able to participate not only in the creation of the city’s plan regarding its growth but also of its spaces. This position has recently garnered substantial support. Architecture, after all, does not begin and end with the concept of design. It shapes spaces in which the majority of social interactions take place, therefore, consciously or unconsciously, every design defines social relations. …


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Blizzard presents a potential way forward.

The Golden Age of Modding

I remember being 10 years old, spending (or wasting, according to my mother) my afternoons playing Age of Mythology. Growing up in Greece, I was very familiar with a good portion of the game’s roster of heroes. Still, my personal “mythology” consisted of pop culture icons, and I recall being tremendously excited at the prospect of adding them in the game — something that, apparently, was made possible not by the developers themselves by other people who wanted the same thing. …

About

Sotiris Frankos

Introspective architect, freelance photographer, secular humanist, consumer of media. Find me on IG: @fisigma

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