EveryCity Symposium: Edifice
The Louis Laybourne Smith School of Architecture and Design, UniSA and
The Bob Hawke Prime Ministerial Centre, UniSA
Wednesday 8 March 2006
DR BRINE: Before I begin, I'd like to acknowledge we meet on Kaurna land and the land of continuing interest for the Kaurna people.
Nikos, over to you.
MR NIKOS PAPASTERGIADIS, Associate Professor of Australian Studies at the University of Melbourne.
Thank you very much, Judith. Let me also acknowledge my gratitude for being here and particularly to Gini Lee, who, over a number of years I think we've been trying to do this. And I'm also very happy to be here finally and I've had an incredibly stimulating morning and I just hope we can maintain the pace, personally.
But what I'm going to do is not really talk about the city or talk about the edifice in particular or talk about any specific architectural forms. I've dealt a little bit about that in the past, but what I want to do now is sort of think more about someone who is, like myself, a writer, a critic, a commentator, a purist, how I engage with such phenomena. And in particular I want to engage with the way in which artists who often, in one way or another, try to intervene or create installations within specific spaces, how a writer then comes into that field.
And this book that Gini just mentioned, Spatial Aesthetics, I originally wanted to entitle it in fact, Topographies, because I felt that was what I was doing, writing about place, writing about artists' engagement of place. But my publisher quickly pointed out to me that if we did do that, it would be in the section in the book shops which sells maps and that I'd be unlikely to get any of my readers that way. So we had to come up with a more funky title, which was Spatial Aesthetics.
But topography is probably also a very good title for this paper, which is what I actually presented, and because it draws from the Greek words "topos", which means place, and writing, graphics, right. But right next to the word topos is of course the word "tropos", just an "r", which means way, manner. And so what I quickly realised was that you can't have one without the other, and I'm sure this is based on this practice as well, which we'll hear. Tropos and topos, manners, ways, approaches, places, all intersect in some interesting way.
And so I always felt that the important thing about when you try and position yourself to write about these events is that you're always combining the two together, and this is what the artist quickly realises, that you can never represent a place in and of itself. You can never recreate a map of a place. You're always in some way trying to sort of create something else, approach it from a different angle, even when you're, as Linda was talking about earlier today, trying to engage with the specificity of a place, of a site.
You are always adapting, nullifying, engaging and in a sense, drawing yourself away from it, creating a kind of exile to it. And that distanciation, even in the act of approach, even in the act of trying to draw from and within is, I think, a critical issue in terms of how we think about relations to place. So that the idea of, and the placing yourself, and placement of art with the every day life, is what topography is always trying to do. It's not always trying to figure out the radial energy going in and out that produces a certain kind of relation to place.
This of course is a critical point that I want to stress in terms of how I think about art and also about how I think about then and how I position myself as someone who comes to write about these relationships or engage oneself in this position. So it's not about the 'about' any more. It's not as if one can place oneself outside the space and examine it from some sort of critical position and see what other people are doing without realising your own involvement, complicity or interaction in that space. So you are in yourself also interacting and in place in the scenario.
So the tropographics or the topographics that I'm deeply interested in and what I try to define in that book was, I quickly realised, always through negation. When I tried to define the specific kind of writing, I always thought it was not a form of historical analysis. It's not a kind of geographic surveying. It's not a kind of mapping of this or that. It's not an attempt to authenticate the specific forms of a place. It's not an effort to classify the practice according to genre, etcetera, or to evaluate it in terms of style, etcetera. It's not an effort to trying to show the force of economics or the narration of a particular stylistic genesis.
It's not those things but perhaps it's the sum of all those things. It is an attempt to engage, you know, Irit Rogov, a friend of mine, when I said to her I felt so embarrassed when I wrote that long couple of pages in the book which was always not this, not that, not this. It's no. She said to me when she wrote her own book, which I read and which I'd forgotten, Terra Infirma, which is about the same thing, she said, "I had a chapter called the 'Not Chapter', it's not this, it's not that". So I felt more at home when I realised that somebody else was also trying to define their own practice through negation as well.
But what we effectively are trying to do is to understand our own position as interlocutors, and this is her phrase. Interlocutors, people who are engaging in that relationship, in some form of dialogue with people and places, trying to develop one's place in that relationship. So this was my ambition which came out of many, many experiences of working with artists who had different kinds of issues that they wanted to explore in relation to specific places, but also histories that come out of particular places.
But then of course, this assumes that the work is produced, a kind of work is produced. As these relationships with artists started to develop, increasingly what started to happen is that no particular or, not just a work was produced. Lots of things were produced. The work, the final work, was just one of them and not always the consummation of everything else. Not the final most important coming together, the climactic thing of everything else. It was just one of the things. But what was that one saw? The public only sees the object. That's the one that goes on tour, right.
But what about if you, as a critic or as a writer, are following the artist in this process and you're seeing a whole series of other events happening and relationships unfolding which do not find themselves as filled or captured or represented into that final object. What do you do with that and what do you with the fact that you are witness to this process? And this is where the task becomes most exquisite, most challenging and perhaps most confronting, because what you're talking about is not just ephemeral work but the relationships inside the working out or the working through or the working of the work.
Now, I'll give you an example of precisely what I'm talking about. Last year - I don't know if many people came to my lecture yesterday for the Adelaide Festival- but I talked about a collective that I had, artists collective, which is actually a bunch of architects that started off in Rome in the 1980s when they actually squatted and barricaded the University of Rome in protest of conditions and these are the group called Stalker. All good architecture students should know about Stalker for lots of reasons.
But Stalker - and I had the opportunity to work with Stalker on a number of projects last year and one of them was about a project on an island called Macronissos, just outside of Athens, with a group of refugees in a camp called Lavrio, which is also just outside of Athens. Now, when they told me they were taking the refugees from Lavrio to Macronissos, immediately a shudder happened through me, and it's not just to do with the story of the refugee, because the island Macronissos, is the most dreaded name for an island in Greek history.
The only island you immediately respond with fear when you hear it, because it's on that island that throughout the 20th century, the various dictatorships that had power in Greece used this island as a place of torture. Thousands of people were tortured, hundreds killed. Many of my relatives were taken there. In fact, one of the co-organisers of this project, Marlena Porcelis, as a young girl, used to go there because her father was detained there and so it is a place that immediately creates dread. And then, of course, you have the story about taking refugees.
Actually, Iranian and Pakistani and Azerbaijani, but predominantly took Kurdish refugees off to this island for an event. So we arrived in Lavrio. We drove about two hours outside of Athens and we went into this camp which was a former army depot, but you can walk in and out of it. The gates are not locked, not like Woomera, with barbwire fences all around it. And when we walked in, immediately people greeted us with warmth and I felt a little bit anxious and I felt that I needed to validate my presence there, but no one seemed concerned and they immediately took me to where Marlena and her boyfriend Jacobo, were negotiating with the head of the PKK, because he at one stage said only the Kurds will go on this expedition.
And then we said, "no, well actually, if we're going to do this project, everyone must come", and so they eventually negotiated this arrangement with the head of the PKK, and for those who don't know, PKK is the Party for the Community Party of Kurdistan, sort of a very radical and a very, very aggressive group and in fact, many people think that Lavrio is beyond the control of the Greek Government and beyond the control of UNICEF and the Red Cross and it's actually a training camp for the resistance fighter, the guerrillas.
And there were a lot of young boys there who were without parents, who were supposedly there as young kids to be trained. Anyway, after many hours of negotiation, we eventually found an agreement where all the others could be invited along and I won't go into the details of that but there was this wonderful moment where we went to the bedside of an old Azerbaijani refugee to pass on a letter to him, written by an Azerbaijani refugee that was now held in Naples, but Stalker had got access to them.
Now, this refugee in Naples was actually not even a refugee but he was just being held there, because he had arrived on the boat working as a sailor in the Bay of Naples and the whole crew jumped ship and he just stayed on the boat and when everyone else dispersed, he just presented himself to the authorities, because he says, "well, actually, we're meant to go off to Marseilles", but the captain and everyone had disappeared and he had nowhere to go and then they had to detain him as a refugee, even though he had no desire to be a refugee. But he had found out through the Stalker group about these other Azerbaijani in the refugee camps in Athens and wanted to write a letter to these people, to his fellow inmates in Greece.
And when we delivered this letter to this guy, he started weeping and one of the reasons why he was weeping, he said to us, "imagine that, we've produced sailors", because Azerbaijani is a land-locked country. And the other incredibly amazing thing about this is I don't speak Azerbaijani and Lorenzo, who I was with, speaks English and Italian and there was another little boy who spoke Turkish and Greek and this Azerbaijani guy could understand Turkish. So can you imagine the look of language.
We were just speaking through this chain to get from one to the other and I thought this chain was a way of connecting it. And then eventually the whistle was blown for all of us to go to the port to go out to Macronissos and only at that point did I realise that this lump of earth, which sticks out like a spine from the blue sea, was Macronissos. It was just on the other side of the port. It's very, very close. In fact, from the detention camp you can see Macronissos and many of the inmates in the detention camp dream of Macronissos, because they can see that nobody lives on Macronissos and they dream of the fact that maybe we can go there, build a home on that island and no one will say, "go away".
So they have this dream of Macronissos, even though they know that it is also the place that was previously used for torture. Anyway, we eventually get on the ship, there's a lot of stories about there's too many people on the boat and, you know, all these cheap foreigners, who's going to get off - and so we'd make two trips, and I start talking to various people and all these stories start to come out and blah, blah. I won't go into those details, but I want to tell one incident that happened on the island itself.
The island itself now is completely unoccupied except for three refugee Pakistani shepherds, because the island is full of rocks and the rubble of the old camp and there's hundreds of sheep that roam around eating oregano that grows wild and that's why the meat tastes so good. And those shepherds disappeared when we arrived. I don't know where they went, but there was no trace of them. All that you could see was their abandoned Toyotas.
And when we were there, amongst the rubble and the sheep dung and this incredible amphitheatre of broken columns, one of the artists, Nikos Dromos, said, "let's have a gesture of acknowledgment of the place in which we are in. Let's make some gesture and tell the story of the coming together of the refugee, the political - the detained communists that were tortured on this place", and he said, "let's build a few little mounds of rocks, just to acknowledge that we are here".
And we started to throw a rock here and at first it felt like a very contrived, forced gesture and all of a sudden, I started to see that the Iraqi, I think they were, refugees and maybe the Kurds, were throwing the stones with great force and were getting bigger stones and the kids were really getting into it and this mound was coming up higher and higher and higher and it was like this whirlywind vortex of energy coming through it, and it was fantastic.
And we all got swept away by this and I went walking up to the top of the hill with this Kurdish man who told me that, his name was Mafous, he said that, "you know, I know that you Christians think that by making this little mound that you have sort of defined a space, you've separated it from this, from that, created a kind of order and that way clarified your relationship to that space", he said to me. They're Zoroastrians. Stephen put the idea of throwing out - see the idea of throwing a rock as a way of throwing out the devil. Two completely different worlds were being performed in the same gesture.
Then I was thinking about how these worlds were co-existing, and we went down the hill to have the lunch and the lunch was performed along an old wall. On one side of the wall looked this high, so you could just squat and that's where all the refugees, because they can squat in that beautiful way, stood or squatted. On the other side, all of us Westerners, the Greeks and Italians and others, we stood, because it's much more comfortable that way for us. We don't have the haunches for it, right? Not enough yoga.
And then on top of this wall was this huge roll of white paper and then a bottle of wine, a bottle of water, some cucumbers, tomatoes, cheese, bread, bottle of wine, bottle of water, cucumber, cheese, wine, bread, repeated about 20 times along the wall. And we all gathered along the wall, facing each other, having a simple meal in the sun, the Mediterranean behind us. Now I told you the story. Where's the artwork? Well, there is no artwork. There's a lot of videoing that was made about this, but that's not the artwork. The artwork was the event itself, the relations that happened along that wall, in the making of that mound.
This brings me to the fact that I've only got three minutes left, but I haven't even started the theoretical part of my paper
DR BRINE: Five minutes.
MR PAPASTERGIADIS: Okay. Five minutes. Now I can't get into some real heavy duty ..... to think about what is the function of writing about these situations. Conventionally, we think about this in terms of documentation and many of you may actually feel that what I've done is document an event for you just now. That is, that I have approached and gathered a story, the event, through some sort of investigation and bringing together and creating a narrative whereby my observation of look and representation allows an unfolding of acts, to be representable to you.
So through that process of documentation, I've given back to you - I've given to you something that I've got from somewhere else, okay, from this experience in Macronissos. So what I'm going to suggest though is that we might think about these instances, these events, in a different way. Not as documentation, because I think every form of documentation will always fail, but as mediations. And by mediation, I mean a kind of reflective intervention that is a dynamic interaction with the formation of perceptions and actions.
But the intention of mediation is to establish a framework in which all the different elements are brought back together and which they are brought into play within this common field. And through the creation of this kind of relationship with the participant and the acknowledgment of the intellectual endeavour of all the parts, we find a mutual dependence for achieving a new kind of outcome. It presumes that all the subjects will utilise difficulties in and of themselves. That is the theoretical categories for contextualisation and the techniques for self-understanding are not exclusive to the artist or to the writer.
And what I mean by this is that in the past, there was a tendency to represent all these actors as if I was outside them, as if I could make sense of what their real meaning and inner truth was, through the powers of my own documentation or through the powers of my own interpretation - narration. Now we must accept that everyone has the capacity to narrate. Everyone has the capacity to tell their own story. As many artists as there were filming and documenting this event, there were also the refugees recording it through their own mobile phones.
Everyone has that capacity to create the meaning of the situation, through their own capacity to record and self-narrate, and to create their own ambient discourses, in other words. So we must appreciate that everyone is producing their own meaning, so that the role of mediation in this sense is therefore not the same as documentation. It is, in fact, aiming towards some sort of co-production, some sort of imaginative, collaborative practice, whereby the effort that's finally produced is in how one makes sense of a new possibility that can emerge through one's relationship with the other.
How, through the process of mediation, one actually produces something new, produces a new kind of set of possibility out of the interactions that occur with people who are themselves acting as agents, rather than them as objects from which you can extract something, whether that be the truth or an image, with whom you participate in the co-production of a new kind of truth, a new kind of image. Maybe I should stop there because I probably took a little bit too long in some of the other parts and I can maybe fill the rest in, in discussion.
DR BRINE: You're happy?
MR PAPASTERGIADIS: Yes, I'm happy. There's too much more to say.
DR BRINE: Would any of the panel like to ask a particular question before we go on to the next speaker? I shouldn't have stopped him short if you're not going to say anything.
MS CLARKE: I have a comment.
DR BRINE: Justine Clarke.
MS CLARKE: I think the idea of incidence of co-production is a very engaging and very productive one. I guess the thing to me is it's also about how who has the authority to speak at forums like this. So you can talk about that as being as a kind of process, not necessarily an artwork, but a process that is involved in the art world, because - you're here, you have that kind of authority within the art world. One of the other people who was involved in the production of that event might tell that story but it would be in a very different context and it wouldn't be actually understood as a contribution to kind of just talk about art. So the idea of a kind of engagement is a very interesting one but I think there's still an issue - something becomes art because ..... established trivia and therefore has the authority [that is] embodied in the kind of production that .....
DR PAPASTERGIADIS: Yes, of course, but ..... come to responsibility and responsibility to use that in a productive way and to use it in an ..... way and to use it in an ..... way. And so that's the way I agree. If I don't, then .....
MS CLARKE: I was a bit ..... to the point.
DR PAPASTERGIADIS: I know but that's the important point. But let me take you - let me approach it from another angle. On the island there was also other events were trying to happen. There was this really tacky moment when one artist invited all these refugees to join with her in the creation of a video piece where they were all to stand between these broken columns and do an 'ohm' together. It was so boring and so embarrassing, it had to be watched, it was irresistible. And why was it irresistible? Because the refugees were all guys - there were a few women as well but - in this instance and they stood there at first very dutifully and when they started doing it, they were all giggling with school boy kind of rebellious energy and that's what it made it interesting.
I couldn't stop watching because of this giggling. And what they were doing is, because they knew that this was someone trying to be arty, they knew that, right, and this is my point that I'm saying at the end is that what authority do I have when these people already had the same kind of authority to giggle. They weren't reverentially sitting - or some of them were and doing - they knew this was ridiculous but some of them knew it was quite beautiful, even with the giggling, it's very beautiful in that topography.
But they had the authority then to also perform it to the others who weren't there, like as they were coming down the hill, coming to meet their friends who weren't up at the top of the hill where this was happening, and they were standing there going 'ohm' and they were all cracking themselves laughing, right. And so they re-performed this event. Now, I'm re-performing the giggle for you in a different kind of way. Now, I'm doing it with different context, different authority, different sounds and the sources, you know, you flew me here, etcetera. You didn't fly the refugees here. They probably couldn't come here obviously.
But the question is that we draw from this is what is now - what sort of momentary bonds that are made, you know, what are the little moments of interaction. And this is the other thing that I'm particularly interested in is how much do I have to know about you to have a connection with you? How much of your culture and my culture needs to be the same before they have something to work with and against, right? How far apart is Mafous from Nikos when we walk up that hill and yet we discover that our - we have for a moment created a mound which has completely different world views attached to it and yet we've done something together.
And what is the meaning of this moment? What is the meaning that we give to these little interactions? I was saying at the end of the last session that maybe this is something we need to focus our mind towards is which is to focus our minds towards the possibilities that come out of these micro-interactions and that's the real question of authority for me.
MS CLARKE: you know, things like to be able to open .....
DR PAPASTERGIADIS: How what?
MS CLARKE: How to structure such a thing that would open themselves to .....
DR PAPASTERGIADIS: Well, the art world, I think if anything is a world of hospitality and if it doesn't open itself to that, then it's boring, it's museums in the worst sense of the word.
MS BRINE: Stephen, you wanted to say?
STEPHEN: ...do you consider that's a true, kind of democratic in a way to come back in a relationality between the refugees themselves, the land ..... whereabouts the ..... for me being kind of ..... description in the landscape kind of rising
DR PAPASTERGIADIS: Yes, exactly.
STEPHEN: That is not far from marking a particular defence for understanding or a culture but it's the very act of rising and you talk about .....
DR PAPASTERGIADIS: Exactly.
STEPHEN: And it is this act that if demand sociology
DR PAPASTERGIADIS: Exactly.
STEPHEN: they can have a democratic relationship with - between ..... it helped a lot but there is no commonality ..... the commonality is in the act of making it right. Do you think that's
DR PAPASTERGIADIS: That's beautiful. Absolutely. That's what people do in cities.
DR BRINE: Nicely wound up. thank you. I think we should go on and hear our next speaker now, otherwise I'm going to get lynched by the audience because we'll never get round to the audience having a turn. So over to you, Kerstin.
MS KERSTIN THOMPSON, Principal of Kerstin Thompson Architects, Melbourne.
Okay. Thank you for having me here today. I thought what I want to do is use or draw from my own architectural practice to think through this question of edifice and just by way of a little preamble - sorry, I'm going to walk around - it's a bit easier. I'm going to point to pictures ..... it is interesting what Nikos was saying then. and earlier from this morning was this idea of connections. When I was made to think about the word edifice and I looked it up, which is often a starting point.
I understood edifice as something that's stable, stately and let's say singular in form. So what I thought I'd do today is instead counter the idea of edifice, showing you some of our projects that I think are better understood as an ecology, a practice. And I want to use the word ecology not just in terms of environmental ecology but more to do with something that is multi-stranded. So a combination of things and to go back to something that Nikos just said about the thoughts of micro-interactions that happen say in cities or in the sorts of events he's describing, to think about in terms of architecture and urban design as not just formally in the sorts of spaces that we make and the strands of those but through our mode of practice, whether it's multi-disciplinary and collaboration that you're always producing the work, but also the experiences based through the many interactions.
So it's to try and shift some of the idea of the stately edifice to something multi-dimensional and interactive. So that's what I wanted to focus on through some of our projects. So the first project to talk through this is a house that we did quite a few years ago now on the edge of Lake Coonawarra, and this is when I became very interested in how the architecture might actually have a continuum with a vision for a landscape - to also tell you a few things about how this project came about. I started this design in very close collaboration with Fiona Harrisson, a landscape architect.
Typically the other thing about the idea of edifice is to undo that in terms of what we understand architecture to be as a singular discipline that always guides other ones. With a project like this, I worked closely with Fiona, so that in fact how it turns out is that the architecture is a consequence of a landscape intent. So it's a sort of a reversal of what typically happens, that architects do their thing first and then the landscape architects come along after that and have to follow or be subservient, if you like, to an architectural intent.
So with this project and also from something that happened this morning, the discussion of site specific, and it made me think about how we understand the site, how we do site analysis. It's something that's never neutral. So that the way we analyse a site has a direct consequence on maybe the designing test that we've been through. Now, very quickly - I'm going to skate through these things so that we've got time to talk. Down the bottom here is a sequence of pictures, photographs, which I took the first time I visited the site and walked from one end to the other, taking a series of ground photographs.
Now, the reason for doing that is to understand the site as not empty, just because it doesn't have buildings on it, but in fact it's this gradually shifting ecology that's already there, and I became interested how our arrangements of the building and the landscapes might, in fact, amplify that existing ecology of the site. So you can see in the site plan here these sorts of series of lateral bands that run across the site to reinforce this shift from a more exotic landscape down to the lake's edge, which is more indigenous.
You can obviously see how the building itself, which is here, this thick black shadow, is a ..... of one of these bands. So again this relationship of architecture being in continuum with a larger landscape. And by being that, it's able to make connection with a much bigger sense of site. So I've got to factor this idea of using architecture to form connections and relationships so the value is not in and of itself but the relationship that it establishes beyond the under-site. Okay. So following on from that - and it's interesting to see these projects, how an idea fell from one project and then gets picked up in another one.
I put this in today because I knew that Kate would be here because the ..... just competed for the Australian Garden at the Botanical Gardens in Camden, and Taylor Cullity Lethlean did the design for the garden, which is what you can see on the plan here. Anyway, we've done this building which is the building ..... and I wanted to give you this as a further example of how architecture is about making connections or forming relationships rather than ..... objects in the landscape. And with this project, this is our competition plan which was what - they obviously won the competition.
What this drawing describes was how the garden was a half, or a journey, and we wanted to think about our building as the beginning of that half-way. So the idea of the building is its heart. It's not a discrete object that you understand or apprehend in a single moment but rather it's something you move through, and through moving through that building you slowly apprehend the landscape that you're within. So it's thinking about the building as a prism for understanding the situation that you're in. The people, when they go to see this, are not there to see the applicants. They're there to see the garden.
So it was also about the building as a background. I don't know why that's upside down but what I love about that picture is that it's a construction shot but it's telling ..... it's looking out to this landscape, so it's making that point that the building is a way of looking rather than a thing that you're looking to. And in that way I started to think about how this idea of architecture as an internal thing, if you like, something we're always within, such a world within rather than standing back and looking at and hence wanting to show you something imperiously, because I think the building adds something that's sort of always within, rather than standing back from. That seems quite an important depiction of this question of inferiority.
Then the next project, the next one is a house that we've also just recently completed and the reason I wanted to put this in was to make the point that thinking about architecture not as just simply about visual style, and that's how a lot of housing architecture is described and understood, but rather that it is a lived fact. It is for the act of living, it is a landscape, if you like, for us to occupy and actually commune within. So I just wanted to - and thinking also again with what Nikos raised about the idea of the topography, and it is this sort of landscape or a terrain in which we commune together.
So with this particular project, this drawing up the top is the first drawing that I actually presented to the clients. It's a section of the house. The section is one of my favourite drawings because it describes, I think, its relationship to ground or landscape, the thing that we walk on and traverse every day. And the thing that I wanted to do with this project is rather than just sort of show you a series of shots of it is to show you a quick time of moving through the space. So if anything the building can't be reduced to a single picture of itself, an icon if you like. Rather it's ..... occupy and enjoy some .....
The next project - there's just two more - is our project of ..... which John's obviously very familiar with. He's one of the other architects who worked on this project. Very quickly, it's a whole city block in Melbourne that was recently developed. They're rounded up into about six different parts of the six different commissions of architects and we were asked to do this little building here, which is affectionately known as Potatch. The thing about this project is that we came in very late in the process and all the other architects had well and truly started their projects.
We were asked, when there was not much cash left or time, to do something spectacular and remarkable. Actually we sort of stood back and looked at it and thought, really, it can't be remarkable when you're wedged between two towers. It's frankly ridiculous. So maybe the thing we could do is be the interval between these more iconic corners on the site. So this is where this idea of architecture as intervals, as being a very valuable intention, if you like, to practice, seemed appropriate. And it was also what led me to think about, again, being quite conscious about using architecture to perform connections or draw a further relationship beyond the site within the site.
So the thing that we did with our little building was also try and make sense of this last remaining wing of the women's hospital that was on the site as well. It's a classic little bit of ..... building that gets left. No one knows quite what to do with it. So we felt that this new building could make some sense of that by drawing connections with it, through form, through colour and scale. You can see they both occupy a similar spot on the site, being wedged between corner buildings. So they are both integral buildings effectively, and you can see here this sort of connection.
It's almost like the original fabric of the block, which was an entire red brick city block when it was the women's hospital. It's kind of pushing itself back out to this sort of the ground, if you like, of this new development. So that ..... idea of the building as something rational and connecting was really important and somehow that practice is continually ..... and therefore not every building needs to be an icon, that in fact there's this other ..... role for buildings, you could say.
But a further version of this sort of thing is the ..... town hall that we did. Again things that you don't apprehend in a single snapshot but rather the experience through movement and sequential understanding of that. But often using the ..... wall in the zig-zag formation to in fact index and respond to the adjacent cell of whether it's housing or larger open space, and using the zig-zag to form territories on both sides of the walls; so using the architecture not as an object but to create a larger territory.
The last projects that I wanted to refer to were the submission we did a few months ago in collaboration with architecture works up in Wellington in New Zealand for the Waitangi Waterfront competition, which in fact John may want to refer to later. He actually won part of this competition.
But the reason I wanted to show this project to finish off is because I think it's a project that if I go back to how I started to counter this idea of edifice, I think this project goes ..... in two ways. Formally it doesn't, and I like to think that this is what we call a constructed ecology, that it's the combination of buildings, landscape, land form, site services and interiors, that in their coming together created kind of new topographies. So it's this multi-stranded approach to making and creating space that in fact is less about creating a series of icons on that site and more about creating grounds for occupational projectory, etcetera.
But the other thing that's important about this project is that it was a collaboration, not just between me and another architect but also between architects and two other disciplines, specifically a structural engineer and environmental engineers. But again going back to the landscape point I made earlier, rather than them coming in once we got a design, we actually worked with them from the very beginning. So that if you go back to this idea of micro-interaction, that it's this play between knowledge, if you like, and these strands of space that produces the richness and the possibility for this project.
So I think on that note, I can probably finish up as an undoing, as it were ..... ecology. Thank you.
DR BRINE: Nikos, would you like to comment on anything that resonated with you particularly?
DR PAPASTERGIADIS: Not so much comment. I'm just in agreement. I was just taking notes down that she put very eloquently when she said landscapes within which we can run together, interaction of knowledge and strands of place, you know. I think this is a very eloquent and quite poetic expressions of both the forms of interaction that I was trying to allude to earlier and also that communal formation, albeit temporary or ephemeral, that might occur in social circumstances and how they've included specific times and places. It was very beautiful.
The other thing I have to say is I'm so pleased that it was Kerstin who had the perspicacity to honour the link to the Queen Victoria Hospital where I was born. I used to tell people all the time - and they'd say: where were you born, and they're expecting me to say: somewhere in Greece. And I say: Lonsdale Street. Then: the old boiler souvlaki shop, and people who are Adelaide - opposite is, of course, Lonsdale Street where all the Greek shops are.
DR BRINE: It's not particularly usual, I think, unless I'm completely out of fashion, which may be the case, for architects to show their building during construction. That seemed to me to have some echo of your building
DR PAPASTERGIADIS: Yes, indeed. That was very brave, I thought, and beautiful.
MS THOMPSON: Whenever people say something is brave, it might not have worked.
DR PAPASTERGIADIS: They mean you're stupid.