A counter-project about land regeneration and land use in Larnaca, Cyprus; or, an everyday little utopia
– Socrates Stratis

‘…Cornelius then takes the lead. “Yes! The garden is temporal, as well as other structures you see around you. The ‘Reverse Memorial’ will remain, even after the complex is handed over to its Turkish Cypriot owners after the island’s reunification”…’. The main body of this article is an imaginary story, a narrative. It is part of a counter-project, a design competition proposal that takes a critical stance on contested issues surrounding land regeneration and land use in Larnaca, Cyprus. It addresses the collective denials of the Greek Cypriot community in Cyprus, while also highlighting those of the Turkish Cypriot community. For these collective denials the questions such as ‘Who owns the land? Who can develop it? Under what rules, for what purpose, and to whose benefit?’ are relevant. These questions have been at the heart of the Cypriot conflict during the last half century. The architectural competition under discussion concerns the regeneration of a mostly Turkish Cypriot owned complex called Zouchouri. The aforementioned questions come into play because of Larnaca Municipality’s initiative to launch the competition amid the unresolved conflict and in the absence of the property owners. I argue that the Zouchouri design competition proposal is part of the counter-project culture in architecture, as it critically addresses the aforementioned questions with the help of an imaginary narrative. Architecture as counter-project in Cyprus can advocate new imaginaries of a shared material world and show how to reconcile by design.

Zouchouri’s conflictual land regeneration and use

In 2018, Larnaca Municipality launched an architectural competition for the regeneration of Zouchouri. It is an urban block in the historic city centre belonging mostly to Turkish Cypriots1 [Images 1 & 2]. This practice is not uncommon for local authorities in the south part of the island.

1. Aerial view, Zouchouri area, Larnaca, Cyprus. Source: Author’s own using Google Earth imagery.

2. View of the existing situation of the Zouchouri urban block, Larnaca. Source: Author’s own.

The immovable property issue is one of the thorniest issues facing a potential political settlement between the two ethnic communities in Cyprus that would lead to the reunification of the island. Cyprus has been divided since the 1974 Turkish invasion that followed a Greek coup d’Etat. Cypriots were displaced to the south and the north parts of the island based on their ethnicities. In the north of the island, there are properties belonging to 150,000–200,000 Greek Cypriots. In the south part of the island, there are properties belonging to 45,000 Turkish Cypriots (Demetriou, 2012: 6). The much larger number of Greek Cypriot immovable properties in the north were seized by Turkey and given to Turkish Cypriots and Turkish settlers, erasing any sign of former Greek Cypriot ownership [Image 3].

There is an ongoing legal fight in the European Court of Human Rights and at the Immovable Property Commission established by Turkey in the north part of the island after a European Court of Human Rights decision. Since 1974, the Turkish Cypriot properties in the south part of the island are guarded by the Republic of Cyprus. However, there is an ongoing, non-transparent use and exploitation by Greek Cypriots, encouraged by the deceitful role of the Republic of Cyprus.

3. Map of Cyprus. Source: AA&U (lead by author).

Three collective denials regarding land use and regeneration in Cyprus

The three collective denials of the Cypriot community addressed by this article are relevant to questions such as ‘Who owns the land? Who can develop it? Under what rules, for what purpose, and to whose benefit?’ These questions have been at the heart of the Cypriot conflict during the last half century. The first collective denial consists of avoiding any public discussion of the actual use of Turkish Cypriot properties in the south part of the island, which can jeopardize the potential reunification of Cyprus. The second collective denial has to do with complicity of the state, local authorities, and Cypriot architects’ bodies in organizing a number of architectural competitions for Turkish Cypriot immovable properties. The third denial manifests itself in the absence of any public debate on how to encourage the construction of a common, collective memory for all Cypriots that will sustain any common future of a reunified island (Stratis, 2016: 6,7). The Larnaca Municipality architectural competition brief for Zouchouri, jury procedure, choice of first prize, and majority of competition entries demonstrate the aforementioned collective denials (Stratis, 2019).

4. Axonometric view of the counter-project. Source: AA&U (lead by author).

A design competition proposal takes a critical stance about land use and regeneration in Zouchouri, Larnaca

With the help of an imaginary narrative, our design competition proposal for Zouchouri regeneration [Image 4] takes a critical position regarding the contested issues of land use and land regeneration in Larnaca, Cyprus. It takes on the culture of counter-projects in architecture to address the aforementioned collective denials of the Greek Cypriot community in Cyprus. At the same time, the counter-project brings up the collective denials of the Turkish Cypriot community. ‘Everyday little utopia’ is the title of the narrative. It takes place against the backdrop of the proposed transformation of the Zouchouri urban complex’s courtyard by the competition counter-project. It promotes an inclusive collective life instead of the gentrification plans of Larnaca Municipality to the detriment of Turkish Cypriot property. The narrative focuses on the denials of Greek Cypriots because the architectural competition was addressed mostly to Greek Cypriot architects and concerned a Turkish Cypriot immovable property in the south. Coming from the Greek Cypriot community, I argue that each community needs to first cope with its own unspoken fears, concerns, and hostile practices before reaching out to the other (Gaffikin and Morissey, 2011). At the same time, the counter-project critically points out the collective denials of the Turkish Cypriots (Navaro-Yashin, 2011) and makes allegations about the neo-colonial practices of Turkey in the north part of the island. My collaboration with Turkish Cypriot colleagues addresses this issue (Stratis and Akbil, 2016: 157–161). The members of the Turkish Cypriot community should take a reciprocal critical stance regarding issues of the unilateral appropriation and development of Greek Cypriot immovable properties in the north part of the island.

Cornelius, Demetra, Erhan, Pelin, and Madame Botane are the protagonists of the Zouchouri counter-project’s narrative and at the same time the personification of the concerns, fears, visions, and hopes that sustain my reflective critical practice while being immersed in the polarized, conflicting everyday life in Cyprus. Cornelius, Demetra, Erhan and Pelin arrive at ‘Zouchouri Urban Oasis’ hoping to be part of the open community, but are at the same time puzzled by the complex conflict on the island. We follow them during a spring afternoon, as Cornelius from Norway initiates the rest of the group into the open community, with the help of Madame Botane.
Counter-projects and narratives in architecture

The notions of the narrative format and that of counter-projects help architecture understand and communicate its complex relations with the city and urban living. The narrative approach demonstrates how architecture is an intersection between the human subject, material and architectural conditions, modes of engagement, and the production of specific meanings (Borden, 2004: 13). Counter-projects make visible the political agencies at stake within such an intersection.

Counter-projects have to do with specific sites. They act as a critique of actual proposals designed by architects, developers, or authorities. They are not meant to be built. However, they have realistic characteristics to support organized groups that are against dominant urban reconstruction trends. Counter-projects played a crucial role in the urban struggles and architectural critique of the 1970s. A major practice of counter-projects took place in Belgium through a unique collaboration between urban activists (the ARAU), architects linked to the AAM movement (Archives d’Architecture Moderne), and architecture students and architects around Nicolas Culot (Ecole Nationale Supérieure d’Architecture et des Arts Visuels; La Cambre). Their critique had to do with the Haussmanian-like reconstruction of the city of Brussels (Doucet, 2016: 41).

When we use a narrative format, we provide a route. Thanks to this route, we encounter the unfamiliar and the unexpected (Borden et al., 2004: 2). Moreover, the narrative format places the user as well as competing practices at the centre of architectural investigation. Rendell calls the narratives ‘spatial stories’ (Rendell, 2000: 105), adopting Michel De Certeau’s words into architecture. She reminds us that ‘we are all spatial story-tellers, explorers, navigators and discoverers, exchanging narratives, of, and in, the city’ (Rendell, 2000: 105). The narrative approach in architecture was part of the ‘Strangely Familiar: Narratives of Architecture in the City’ initiative in the mid-1990s (Borden et al., 1996). It was one of the methods used to investigate, understand, and communicate the aforementioned composite interrelation of architecture, cities, and urban living. Rendell’s ongoing work foregrounds the writers’ subjectivity regarding the production of historical knowledge in architecture and its relationship to artistic practices (Rendell, 2000, 2010).

The Zouchouri design competition proposal is part of the counter-project culture in architecture. It takes a critical stance on controversial issues surrounding land use and regeneration through the use of an imaginary narrative. The counter-project offers support structures for co-governance and collective activities. In this way, architecture in Cyprus can propose new imaginaries of a shared material world and show how to reconcile by design. The use of the narrative format can demonstrate the intersection between the human subject, the material and architectural conditions as well as the modes of engagement and the production of specific meanings (Borden, 2004: 13). “It expresses the desire to ‘know’ the past by projecting into a shared future for the communities in conflict. […]‘To know’ the past, to tell it as it was, (and if possible to explain it)” (Rendell, 2000: 106).

5. One spring afternoon in Zouchouri Urban Oasis. Source: AA&U (lead by author).

The storytelling’s prelude

The Zouchouri counter-project takes on the legacy of counter-projects as architectural critique. It does not react to existing proposals but to an existing competition brief that embodies the aforementioned three kinds of denial. It challenges the competition process from within since it follows the given program and regulations, with a twist. The narrative replaces the competition’s requirement for a technical report. By doing so, it shifts the focus from the qualities of the physical-objects-to-be to their potential active agency thanks to proposed spatial arrangements and uses. The story tells us about the everyday collective caring of the ‘Zouchouri Oasis’. Taking care of the garden plots, stowing or unfolding the furniture of the open-plan youth hostel, exchanging products in the market, and treating rainwater are all catalysts for collective care of shared spaces.

The counter-project is based on design techniques involving an active role for ephemeral micro-objects and the manipulation of the permanent surface of Zouchouri’s courtyard. The repetition of the micro-objects through variations arranged in exterior and interior spaces and surfaces yields all kinds of micro-environments. These environments are conducive to living together. They embody shared memories. The narrative takes us through these micro-environments, offering us an alternative shared place, while questioning the regeneration process instigated by the Larnaca Municipality.

The narrative shows us how the aspect of temporality and repetition alter the characteristics of what Borden has named the intersection between the human subject, material and architectural conditions, modes of engagement, and the production of specific meanings. The cupboards constituting the youth hostel’s floor, the reused pallets organizing the garden, and the canopies defining the market area are all temporally placed. Their size, materiality, and way of they are assembled tells us so.

While reading the narrative, one can follow how the assembly of micro-objects encourages the protagonists to get engaged and co-produce new meanings for Zouchouri Urban Oasis. The micro-objects have agency by enacting rituals such as that of waiting or of embodying memory: the buried stories of the ‘Reverse Memorial’, the reused timber for the wooden tunnel in the Passage building, coming from the renovation of the old structure hosting the youth hostel, the inscribed names of the cities in the cupboards, destined to host them with the reunification of the island (Image 5).

Enjoy reading ‘everyday little utopias’!
Once upon a future time… or everyday little utopias

Cornelius, Demetra, Erhan, and Pelin are sitting at the central garden of Zouchouri in Larnaca, Cyprus, during a cool spring afternoon. They are all young travellers who profited from Larnaca Municipality’s initiative to include the reused Zouchouri complex in a European mobility network for living and working aimed at young people under 30.

Cornelius has arrived two months before the rest of the group. He is in charge of initiating newly arrived people into the collective activities of Zouchouri Urban Oasis. They are all in the garden with its seasonal plants, sitting between aromatic flowers, vegetables, and shrubs. The garden occupies the centre of the courtyard. The garden plots are defined by reused wooden pallets, carefully placed next to each other. They form the edges of small and large flower beds full of aromatic plants and shrubs. They are also used as paths between the plots. The Oasis’s tenants take care of the garden together with people who come from elsewhere, far away, usually in the afternoons and weekends. In the centre of the garden, we can see an impressive, newly built cylindrical structure fully covered by beautiful tiny mosaics with fountains. An extremely airy, cantilevered roof follows the shape of the structure and provides shadow to those using the water fountains. The space around the fountain is kept without flower beds, easily accessible from the rest of the courtyard.

Just next to the garden, we can see a mosque: the Zouchouri mosque, with its half-demolished minaret, victim of a former earthquake and an ongoing political conflict on the island. We realize that, strangely enough, the grounds of the garden and part of the adjacent courtyard space run down smoothly towards the courtyard’s centre. The surfaces from both long sides of the courtyard create a sort of smooth, V-shaped area going down half a metre from the perimeter alley that runs along the courtyard’s buildings. It is an immense rain catcher, but not only that… ‘What you see is temporal’, says the tall young man, Cornelius, as he leans towards the rest of the group, impressed and overwhelmed by the long and controversial history of the place. ‘The smooth, V-shaped surface extends under the garden to a canopy located at the south side of the courtyard. The people call it the “Reverse Memorial”! Each concrete block that is part of the sloping surface hides a letter. On top, you can see colourful geometric shapes. It is a sort of coloured coder of stories. The ground surface is divided into many parts, corresponding to the number of communities that the Greek Cypriot refugees came to Larnaca from, but also to those that the Turkish Cypriot refugees went to after they had to leave the area during the 1974 Turkish invasion’.

Next, Demetra takes over, with a tone full of memories. Demetra is the granddaughter of refugees from Famagusta who came to Larnaca. A year after, they had to migrate to England to survive financially. ‘I know!’, she exclaims. ‘I was here with my grandmother. We were invited by Larnaca Municipality to transfer our stories into letters and put them in the ground. A lot of people were here, both Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots. Some Armenians too. That is why I came back, honestly’. Cornelius then takes the lead again. ‘Yes! The garden is temporal, as well as other structures you see around you. The Reverse Memorial will remain, even after the complex is handed over to its Turkish Cypriot owners after the island’s reunification. The Cultural Heritage Bicommunal Committee managed to reach an agreement between the leaders of the two communities. The Municipality of Larnaca faced an ethical dilemma when the mayor succeeded to take over the management of the Zouchouri complex from the Ministry of Interior of the Republic of Cyprus. How does one intervene in an area owned mostly by Turkish Cypriots, knowing very well that any action has a political repercussion? At the same time, the area was in bad shape before its reconstruction. The idea of temporality helped not only to overcome this dilemma but also to convey a message about how one deals with immovable properties that belong to others, which is true for Greek Cypriot ownership in the north part of the island. Reconstruction should go hand in hand with reconciliation’.

Pelin then pops in, carrying a bouquet of aromatic flowers in her hands. An elderly gentleman who is taking care of the flower bed close by offered it to her. ‘I have realized just that while I was in the hostel the other day. The floor that we sleep on but also that of the kitchen and the living room is made of dozens of cupboards! They have the same size as the one we saw earlier this morning at Mr Giorgos’s workshop, there, just in front of us. I am reminded of such temporality when rolling up our futon each morning and stowing it into the floor cupboards, together with the rest of our belongings. Aren’t we participating in a sort of ritual of waiting? I haven’t yet understood what we are waiting for. The lady at the reception desk at the ‘Passage’ building… I forgot her name… anyway. She told us that the cupboards making up the hostel’s floor as well as the prefabricated service units will be gone after the island’s reunification. They will be shared among the communities where Greek Cypriots choose to go in the north part of the island. They will be placed in a prominent location inside municipal buildings, to help them build a shared memory with the rest of the communities’ population. There are some names inscribed on the inside of the cupboards. I sleep on the one on which is written Karavas!’.

‘Karavas? The name of Kyrenia is written on mine!’ Erhan adds, ‘and next to it there is a smaller one where I have put my backpack for the last two days’. Erhan continues, ‘I woke up the first morning after I slept in the hostel, a bit earlier than the rest… I took off for a walk when I got bored waiting for everybody to wake up. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I had returned from my walk back to the hostel. I was lucky because Cornelius took care of my belongings and stowed them into the floor cupboards. The curtains were all pushed to the side’. Demetra goes on, ‘What is certain is that we have an amazing working space each time we hide our belongings in the floor and draw the curtains to the side. When we close the curtains again during the evening, I feel like I take refuge in a protected space. …’

Cornelius asks Erhan about his morning walk. He responds by pointing in the direction of the former Turkish Cypriot market, saying that he paid a visit to an acquaintance of his mother, who has a small jewellery workshop. ‘You know, my parents come from Larnaca and they went to Kyrenia after the war of 1974’, Erhan adds, and remains silent for a while. Demetra takes the courage to break that deep silence to ask him if he knows anyone who came to Zouchouri the day they buried their stories in the ground for the Reverse Monument. His answer is negative, but he recalls reading about it in an article in a local Turkish-speaking newspaper. A daring journalist asked her audience why the Turkish Cypriot community hadn’t followed the example of Larnaca Municipality. She invited Turkish Cypriots to defy Turkey’s neo-colonial plans and confront the thorny issue of the appropriation of Greek Cypriot immovable properties in the north.

‘Eh, guys!’ Cornelius abruptly raises his voice. ‘They are calling us from the market area. Could you be so kind as to grab a box with aromatic plants to take them to the plants drying shop? It is next to the entry of the former Turkish Cypriot market. Remind me please, when we return to the house, to hand you the leaflet with the colours corresponding to letters, so you can decode the buried stories of the Reverse Memorial’.

They all grab a small box from the old gentleman who takes care of the flower beds. While heading to the aromatic plants drying workshop, they traverse an open-air flea market that takes place once a week under the canopy. It is made of metal, the canopy, with slim round columns that hold many elongated flat surfaces in a very light manner at a height that gives a sense of walking across a forest. The canopy’s surfaces stretch linearly, one next to another. They allow for the afternoon sun to penetrate deeply into the covered space, thanks to the half-metre distance between their long stretches.

Cornelius takes on the initiator’s role once more to inform the group about the past of the Turkish Cypriot market, built most probably in the 1950s. He confesses that he is ignorant of the use of the space before the construction of the 1950s building. He knows, however, that Turkish Cypriots had to withdraw from the market area and move deep into their ethnic enclave back in 1963 due to the bicommunal conflict. He refers to the fact that Greek and Turkish Cypriots lived in segregated areas in Larnaca, before the Turkish invasion in 1974. It seems like they needed to have their separate market, he admits. He imagines that British colonial rule had something to do with this division. However, they couldn’t avoid locating the markets next to each other.

‘The economy, stupid’, he says, recalling the pre-election slogan of Bill Clinton’s presidential campaign to provide an optimistic interpretation of the coexistence of the two communities on the island. To explain himself, he continues his line of thought by describing how the markets, side by side, profit from each other’s visitors. He goes on, speaking in a rather hushed voice, with Pelin probably unable to hear anything since she is stuck further back in the market. ‘It was almost cancelled, blown to pieces… the refurbishment of the Turkish Cypriot market, you know! The municipality couldn’t find the appropriate method of collaboration with the Greek Cypriot tenants of the market, who are refugees’. He explains that some of them had been there since the war of 1974, while others moved in after the demolition of the adjacent municipal market used by Greek Cypriots, 20 years ago. He then turns abruptly and points to something just behind the shops’ metal roller blinds. He moves his finger further up, pointing towards space just above the concrete roof. ‘You see these volumes that come out from the actual 1950s market building? Eh… Do you know that these structures saved the negotiation between municipality and tenants? They allowed for extra room in mezzanines for the shops facing the roads, thus giving away the ground floor to others to use the space along the courtyard of the market’.

While talking, they find themselves at the edge of the market, at a clearing with a couple of trees. The aromatic plants drying workshop is located just there, on one of the clearing’s sides. Further away lies the opening leading to the newly built municipal market across the road. They leave the boxes with the aromatic plants by the workshop’s doorstep. They turn their gaze back towards the direction they just came from to see Pelin running towards them. She is not tall, with straight black hair down to her shoulders.

Pelin, an architect, comes from Turkey, where she lost her job due to her political beliefs. Terrified as she was, she found refuge in Cyprus thanks to a European programme. ‘Did you know?’ she points to the cylindrical structure with the fountains, saying that there is a water well just under the structure where all the Oasis’s rainwater is collected. That is why the trees look so freshly watered and healthy.

‘Dear Pelin, where did you learn about this?’ Demetra asks. Pelin explains that, while crossing the flea market, she met the lady who is at the Urban Oasis’s reception at the Passage building. ‘Francoise Botane, they call her! Yes! I finally remember her name!’ Francoise Botane, Pelin admits, has a fairy tale–like way of narrating stories about the open and autonomous spirit of the Zouchouri Urban Oasis. Mrs Botane is heading towards them, greeting everyone along her way, and they respond with warmth.

She, together with the newcomers, takes off towards the other end of the Oasis’s courtyard, after having introduced herself to the group. They walk towards the Passage building for an informal meeting. Their talking continues along the way. It has become a sort of a walking workshop, along the buildings that enclose the courtyard.

Arriving just outside the Passage building, they pause under the canopy that serves the coffee shops of the Urban Oasis. Mrs Botane unfolds the culture of openness of the Urban Oasis. She pronounces her English with a charming French accent. She speaks Greek rather well when she talks to Demetra. She found herself in Cyprus because of an old love affair with a Cypriot. They met in Paris where he went on an Erasmus exchange programme. They divorced, unfortunately. She remains a citizen of Larnaca. Since a couple of years, she is the coordinator of the newly established Zouchouri Urban Oasis.

Passing through the wooden tunnel in the Passage building, the group gazes from right to left, upwards and downwards. They look at the restored Passage building, a former shop, with its impressive height and two glorious stone arches. The afternoon sunlight penetrates the shop’s space through the side windows as well as through two small skylights. The porous skin of the wooden tunnel filters the light, creating all sorts of shade and light gradations. We saw something similar back in the flea market, under the canopy. This time though, all four members of the group, Pelin, Demetra, Erhan, and Cornelius, are overwhelmed with respect and admiration for the untouched and inaccessible old building shell.

‘Could you move on to the reception space, please?’ Mrs Botane urges the group, having realized that they are all standing motionless, victims of the magic performed by a sort of sublime relation that the filtered light creates between the inaccessible spaces of the ancient building and the wooden tunnel crossing it. They examine each wooden part, since all parts are reused, coming from the initial hostel structure that had to be refurbished.

It is getting late. After a short chat and a distribution of some information to the newcomers, Mrs Botane bids them goodbye and locks the doors of the Passage building. Pelin and Cornelius return to the hostel to help with the preparation of supper. They still have a few hours of collective work on their schedule. They prefer this to paying rent. They slowly open the floor cupboards of the sitting room, pretending to be magicians who have the rest of the hostel tenants as their audience. They gradually make unfolded tables and chairs appear. The dining space is ready.

Demetra, who is very curious when she returns to the hostel, opens the floor cupboard where she put away her futon, half-asleep, in the morning. She wants to find out which community the cupboard will go to after the island’s reunification. ‘Famagusta!’, she screams! [image 4].

1.The Turkish Cypriot inhabitants of Larnaca, including those from the Zouchouri neighbourhood, were forced to move first in 1963, when they went further west into their ethnic enclave, and later in 1974, to the north part of the island. The houses, shops, and workshops left behind are inhabited by Greek Cypriot refugees who were forced to move to the south part of the island. Many of them come from Famagusta.

— Borden, I., Kerr, J., Pivaro, A. Rendell, J. (eds), (1996). Strangely Familiar: Narratives of Architecture in the City. London: Routledge.
— Borden, I., Kerr, J., Pivaro, A. Rendell, J. (eds), (2000). Unknown City: Contesting Architecture and Social Space. Cambridge, Mass.: The MIT Press.
— Borden, I. (2004). Machines of possibility. [Lecture], presented at: Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL, Inaugural Professorial Lecture, London, UK. Available at: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/2329/ [Accessed 12th of July 2020] — Demetriou, O. (2012). Displacement in Cyprus: Consequences of civil and military conflict report 1, Nicosia: Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO).
— Doucet, I., (2016). The Practice Turn in Architecture: Brussels after 1968. Taylor & Francis, Ashgate Studies in Architecture.
— Gaffikin F. and Morissey M. (2011). Planning in Divided Cities. UK: Wiley-Blackwell.
— Navaro-Yashin, Y. (2012). The Make-Believe Space: Affective Geography in a Postwar Polity. Durham and London: Duke University Press.
— Rendell, J. (2000). Bazaar Beauties or Pleasure Is Our Pursuit: A Spatial Story of Exchange. In: Borden et al. (eds). Unknown City: Contesting Architecture and Social Space. Cambridge, Mass.: The MIT Press, pp. 104–121.
— Rendell, J. (2010). Site-Writing: The Architecture of Art Criticism. London, New York: I.B. Tauris.
— Stratis, S. and Akbil, E. (2016). Reclaiming Political Urbanism in Peace Building Processes Case Study: The Hands-On Famagusta Project. Footprint Journal, 19, pp. 157–161.
— Stratis, S. (ed.) (2016). Guide to Common Urban Imaginaries in Contested Spaces. Berlin: Jovis.
— Stratis (2019). Unseeing in the Cypriot contested cities. Architectuul, [online] Foma No 25. Available at: https://blog.architectuul.com/post/182444278052/foma-25-unseeing-in-the-cypriot-contested-cities [Accessed 13th of September, 2020].

The competition project team: AA & U for Architecture, Art and Urbanism, Nicosia, Cyprus (the project received an honorable mention). Project leader: Socrates Stratis. Collaborators: Chrysanthe Constantinou, architect, urban designer; Lara Anna Scharf, architect.

Socrates Stratis is an Associate Professor, at the Department of Architecture in the University of Cyprus. He has a doctorate degree in urban studies-planning from the University of Paris 8, France and a bachelor’s and master’s degree in architecture (urban design) from Cornell University, USA. Socrates’ research focuses on the political agencies of architecture in conflictual plus uncertain spaces, supporting the urban commons. His is one of the main founders of the critical spatial practice agency AA & U for Architecture, Art and Urbanism. He is the editor of the “Guide to Common Urban Imaginaries in Contested Spaces”, Jovis. In 2016, Socrates was the curator of the Cyprian participation (contestedfronts) in 15th Venice Biennale of Architecture, Contested Fronts, and the project leader of Hands-on Famagusta. He is member of the scientific committee of Europan Europe, a European institution for biennial urban design competitions for young practitioners.

AA & U, For Architecture, Art and Urbanism
Socrates Stratis


Volume 3, no. 3 Autumn 2020