Re-think the gap – social + spatial

Yuchun Zhang
Professur
Nachhaltige Entwicklung von Stadt und Land
Projektarbeit

Athens is a city living over the centuries, where topological and spatial characteristics of the ancient city can be found in the urban fabric today. The project area Kerameikos – Metaxourgio is a field of investigation of urban processes, a mixture of social groups, building typologies and economic activities. The studio’s subject was to analyse factors contributing to the area’s situation and extract the potential of housing, tourism and shared economies. Also, to investigate the existing building stock, the derelicts and the public space and evaluate the drivers of change for the area. In other words, to propose a sustainable urban regeneration in an area which is a social melting pot, taking into consideration the assets of the past, and how to transform them into a dynamic, productive and liveable quarter for the future.

The gap is a metaphorical concept with dual meanings of sociology and space. When two or more given fields do not touch or even exclude each other, the undefined left between them is called gap. In Metaxourgio and Kerameikos there are many physical or non-physical gaps, due to historical evolution, building types and population composition. The social gaps are represented by few opportunities for different groups to communicate. Greeks and immigrants living in the same Polykatoikia may not have social interaction due to the vertical segregation and different timetables. Other social gaps exist in unemployment and economic decline and lack of political public participation.

Spatial gaps exist in the rooftops between two high-rise residential units, or in many empty plots and abandoned buildings. They have potential to be transformed into shared spaces where semi-public activities occur, regeneration also the image of the urban façade. Due to the structure of Polykatoikia, another gap exists between public and private realm, which is shown by covered balconies everywhere. This phenomenon illustrates the lack of transition space. Thinking about the gaps of spatial and social significance from the urban scale, Metaxourgio and Keramikos could be considered as a gap in the city and it shows an undefined status in general.

AJA-2020_ATH_04.01
Conceptual section of interventions
Munich 2020. Federico Tavella and Yuchun Zhang
Catalogue of interventions in the area
Munich 2020. Federico Tavella and Yuchun Zhang
Site Plan with interventions
Munich 2020. Federico Tavella and Yuchun Zhang
Model of the site with interventions
Munich 2020. Federico Tavella and Yuchun Zhang