GARDENING, NOT ARCHITECTURE

OBLIQUE STRATEGIES

HUSSAM ZBEEB
M.ARCH


In its heyday, Varosha, a suburb on the island of Cyprus, was a highly sought-after Mediterranean retreat. In the summer of ‘74, a Greko-Turkish conflict on the island resulted in the annexation of Varosha and its closing-off, making it a ghost town to this day.

Existing site plans for Varosha’s future reopening, whenever it may be, revolve around its complete demolition and rebuilding from scratch, making it complicit in some of architecture’s prevailing mythologies. Myths, a widely understood type of discourse, in architecture revolve around boundaries, materials, scripts, and nature.

Rather than opting for complete demolition, the project asks us to pause, speculate on everyday strategies people might enact in the re-inhabitation of Varosha, and make do with what is already available via fragments around town. In the process, our own assumptions about the architecture’s four mythologies are challenged, transgressed, and replaced with new ones.


THE FOUR MYTHOLOGIES

bound·a·ry
/ ‘bound(e)rē/
(n.) Enclosures, grids, gates, borders, and fences, amongst other things, that present themselves as objective.

ma·te·ri·al
/me’tirēel/
(n.) Concern for aging, particularly a resistance to decayed materiality and a desire for permanent solutions.

script
/skript/
(n.) Dictating what ‘should’ and ‘should not’ take place within a piece of architecture.

na·ture
/’nāCHer/
(n.) Nature which is embraced and dictates entire architectures on one hand, while being fearfully kept out on the other.

This proposal rubs against plans of reclamation that are birthed from the top, instead embracing scales in line with the spirit of the ‘minor’. The individual’s memories, the unwanted ‘weed’, the decayed brick - these are the materials used to propose a series of everyday situations for a speculated reopening of Varosha.

The myth is used as a medium to understand what propels methods of dealing with existing spaces, making explicit the ways of ordering our worlds. Using Roland Barthe’s definition of a myth as a type of messaging, the project proposes an alternative set of myths or discourses that enhance what is there to deal with the future of Varosha.

COMMITTEE:
John Bass
Daniel Irvine
Thena Tak [CHAIR]