This Thursday, November 13, is the final World Wide Storefront event for Host: Natural Histories for Los Angeles is Potluck, featuring participants from LA Forum’s Out There Doing It series. Supper Studio hosts the evening, serving small eats by Anthony Martin of PATAO and visual treats by Jonathan Crisman of No Style. For the thirteenth rendition of Supper Studio, each OTDI team is invited to design a freestanding table as their contribution to the potluck. The individual tables form one long, collective table, an exquisite and parasitic corpse running through the length of the VDL House.
2014 OTDI Participants:
Erin Besler and Ian Besler
Laurel Consuelo Broughton and Andrew Kovacs
Jose Sanchez, Plethora Projects
Katya and Alexei Tylevich, Friend & Colleague
Supper Studio is a ‘loose’ dinner-discussion series where speakers come together over a shared meal for informal conversation. Each meal features experimental practitioners who are exploring the limits of architecture through a distinctly non-architectural creative or productive process, or experts who approach architecture as a starting point for experimentation into issues that transgress disciplinary boundaries.
Potluck and Host: Natural Histories for Los Angeles are part of World Wide Storefront, a Storefront for Art and Architecture project. Additional support provided by UCLA A.UD.
“RavineTalk: Possible Futures” explores the future vision of the Lower Don Valley as a form of public linear park that is sustainable and achievable, and considers how increased access, ongoing environmental stewardship, and the integration of public art might serve as guiding principles for the future vision of ravines across our City. This is the second of two special lectures complementing the RavinePortal exhibition.
The intensification and development of new communities in Toronto’s downtown east core will bring an estimated 80,000 new residents to the neighborhoods flanking the Lower Don. This growing population will significantly increase the demands on the Lower Don Valley to serve as a place to recreate, and through which to commute.
When Evergreen decided to build their new headquarters on the site of the former Don Valley Brick Works, they saw the potential of its ravine location to inspire and equip visitors to live, work and play more sustainably. Seana Irvine will discuss how the public can celebrate and embrace the ongoing revitalization of the Lower Don Valley, and share Evergreen’s vision of how to connect Evergreen Brick Works to the Lower Don’s other destinations, and its role within the larger context of the City’s bicycle, pedestrian and green space networks.
As members of the planning and design community, DTAH are committed to public work, including the design of streets, parks and open spaces. Bryce Miranda and Brent Raymond will share their work on the Phase 1 Implementation of the Lower Don Trail Master Plan, which includes a new pedestrian and cycling bridge at Pottery Road, the establishment of the Bayview Avenue Multi-Use Path (Phase 1 from Pottery Road to Rosedale Valley Road), two new staircases from the Dundas and Gerrard Street Bridges, the realignment of the Belleville underpass, and significant improvements in the Narrows from Riverdale Park Bridge to Don River Park including trail-widening and the creation of a 1.6km Art Fence.
Seana Irvine is Chief Operating Officer of Evergreen a national not-for-profit that inspires action to green cities. Evergreen’s work is driven by their belief in the power of people to enact positive change and restore the natural health of their communities. Focusing on four program areas—Green Space, Children, Food and CityWorks—they build partnerships with diverse groups and engage key influencers and the public to inspire local action and create sustainable cities.
Brent Raymond is a landscape architect, planner, urban designer, and partner at DTAH. He led the recently completed Lower Don Trail Master Plan, which recommends strategies to improve environmental protection and access, and to consider possibilities for public art in the Lower Don Valley. On behalf of DTAH, Brent is currently leading the core team, which includes Nelson\Nygaard and MMM Group, to prepare the Toronto Complete Street Guidelines.
Bryce Miranda is a DTAH partner and landscape architecture project manager for the Bayside development in the East Bayfront lands on Toronto’s waterfront as well as for overall planning efforts for the East Bayfront Precinct. Bryce is also leading DTAH’s contribution to the John Street Corridor project, and the Lower Don Trail Phase 1 implementation, and was project manager for the landscape architecture at Evergreen Brick Works.
Possible futures is a series of speculative works created by young architects from Tel-Aviv, who explore and re-imagine the Central Bus Station as an arena for public agriculture and vivid civic activities. The works present optimistic ideas for re-use of the vast spaces in and around the massive structure, in the light of city plans to phase-out public transportation from the station. The proposals were elected in a public open call and are presented, among other art works, in Gallery 5470 – a vacant store transformed to a temporary exhibition space inside the CBS.
Part of the works can be also viewed by a set of telescopes placed around strategic locations in the building, each offering a new perspective on reality through a translucent printed layer of 3D-generated vegetation, presenting alternative environments of possible futures.
1. Some possible futures by Dana Mor, Onya Collective
This proposalimagine a time after bus traffic is removed from CBS as planned, and urban renewal programs take effect, the soon-to-be-vacant platforms of CBS could be replaced with positive programs. Gardens and recreation spaces could be invited back into the cleared space. What is now a notorious, polluted, crime-hit mega building, is a potential for vertical park with active public institutes.
2. Next Life by arch. Avi Laiser and arch. Lior Ben Shitrit, AL/Arch
Next Life project exemplifies a partcipatory architecture of disintegration that dwells in the physical and the virtual worlds simultaneously and reflexively. Since the bus terminal cannot be demolished, it is re-built in the virtual world of Minecraft inviting the public to engage with it in any way they wish. Every virtual intervention on the building will have a physical/vegetal presence on site in the form of vegetal insert. The insert will be attached to the exterior walls of the terminal to slowly penetrate the walls and overtake its massive concrete structure. www.al-arch.com
3. Plant Plant by Robert Ungar, Onya Collective
This vision imagines a future of a productive city, where fields and orchards could create a polycultural ecosystem, which will invite people to take part of the food cycle as an integral part of the public space. Through densification of agriculture within cities, rural land could be freed. Once uncultivated, the newly reclaimed land could be re-distributed for political tranquility. In another scenario, transformation of agricultural lands to natural reserves will allow a return of the once prosperous rich flora and fauna of the Israeli landscape, strengthening biodiversity and wellness of us all.
4. Pla(n)tform , by arch. Adi Reich-Roman and arch. Ori Ronen
This projectsuggest an architectural fantasy transforming the CBS into a private-public farm, where agriculture is both scenic and profitable. Providing public space, from which agriculture may be viewed, enhances its role as a scenic resource. Public spaces are concentrated at the street level, and are accompanied by existing and new public services, shops, cultural venues and a market selling local produce.
Adapting Sandra Teitge’s long-running Dinner Exchange as a platform and in collaboration with Christina Green, a discursive round table will join this culinary event with invited guests including Spiros Pengas –Consultant for Tourism and International Relations for Thessaloniki, writer Leon A. Nar, artists Atalya Laufer and Persefoni Myrtsiou, and Georgos Ieropoulos. In an open format the speakers and public will share food as well as thoughts on the current situation of tourism and cultural diversity in Thessaloniki while alluding to the issues of import and export as well as the locality and regionality of food. – The culinary project Dinner Exchange was founded in October 2011 and aims at creating discursive situations in various environments whilst always addressing the issue of food waste.
At the context of Microgeographies’ Reveries and Realities research trip, we performed the second (1) public reading of the funeral oration of Pericles. The public performance was held on October 31, 2014, at 19.45, at Demosion Sema, the public cemetery of the ancient city of Athens.
In his famous speech, known from Thucydides’ History of the Peloponnesian War, Pericles addresses issues on Democracy and Polis. The speech was delivered by Pericles at this site.
Our reading was based on the History of the Peloponnesian War, Book Two, by Thucydides (translated by Eleftherios Venizelos). It was performed with the contribution of Orizontas team, artists, architects, archaeologists and random passers. We thank Yianni Besko, Jimmy Efthimiou, Hariklia Hari, Niko Kazero, Maria Peteinaki, Angelo Skourti, Helen Stefanopoulos, Yianni Theodoropoulo, Eleni Tzirtzilaki, Yorgo Tzirtzilaki and all the random passengers for their contribution.
(1) Microgeographies first public reading was held at the context of the project Reveries du Promeneur Solitaire, on March 1rst, 2013, at 21.45. It was performed with the contribution of Orizontas team, artists and random passers. The performance was registrated and enriched at the Temporary office for the study and the registration of the “findings” of the reverie at the auto organzed space of Orizontas.
In the framework of OST: Research, Israeli-born artist Atalya Laufer collaborates with Greek artist Persefoni Myrtsou on ‘Playback.’ ‘Playback’ evokes a Karaoke experience that celebrates popular music among Greeks and Israelis. Various Greek songs and their appropriated Israeli counterparts are featured as hybrids and are accompanied by video clips composed of fragments of YouTube uploads. Spanning from early 20th century ‘classics’ to contemporary trash-pop, they share the same melodies but differ in lyrical interpretation. In an open format, the public is invited to sing along.
Friday, 31 October, 4-6 pm, Contemporary Art Center Thessaloniki (CACT)
In Thessaloniki, the majority of residents buy their produce at weekly markets, directly from the producers or individual vendors. Although large global supermarket chains, such as Carrefour, exist, outdoor markets are highly frequented by all generations and social classes, it seems, and are very affordable compared to Northern Europe.
Our food hunt for the Dinner Exchange style round table at the Goethe Institut Thessaloniki on Saturday was very successful. Despite the current economic crisis most vendors generously gave us their leftover produce so that we left the market with a wide array of vegetables and fruit.
Bounty: a whole buggy filled with cabbage, cauliflower, aubergines, carrots, potatoes, tomatoes, lemons, red & green peppers et al.
At the context of World Wide Storefront, Microgeographies present “Reveries and Realities”: a unity of projects and routes, personal and collective, regarding the lived experience of deserted places, starting from the remains of the ancient Sacred Way and ending at the coast of West Attica-Chaidari and Piraeus. This research and experiential trip lasts two days: October 31 and November 4.
In collaboration with the Environmental Association OIKO.POLI.S and the auto organized space of Orizontas.
On October 31 we will perform a daily trip that is based on the ancient “Iera Odos” route. Iera Odos was “The Sacred Way” from Athens to Eleusis. It covers a distance of 22 km, still tracable at parts. We will pick up some of its characteristic remaining traces and corresponding sites.
We have divided our tour in two routes: one in the western area and coast of Athens (Chaidari, Skaramaga) and the other in the center of Athens (the area where the road starts at Kerameikos).
Day 1, route 1
(2-6p.m.) In collaboration with the Environmental Association of Chaidari OIKO.POLI.S, we will visite Aphrodite’s Sanctuary (located today in Aphaia Skaramagka, a neighborhood of Chaidari), Iera Odos (in front of the CopaCopana recreation park), Reitoi (Koumoundourou Lake) and Skaramaga Coast. Our tour starts at the Sanctuary of Aphrodite where Yiannis Theodoropoulos sets up a temporary sculpture and Hariklia Hari, interacting with the site and the sculpture, presents the performance “Ophelia II: the loss of libido” (from “Reveries du Promeneur Solitaire” work in progress). OIKO.POLI.S Association carries an environmental tour around the history and reality of the area and the particular sites.With the participation of architects, artists and people from the local community.
Sanctuary of Aphrodite at Skaramagas
The Sanctuary of Aphrodite at Skaramagas. Pausanias mentions a temple of Aphrodite, located today in Aphaia Skaramanga, a neighbourhood of Chaidari, about 1.5 km west of the Daphni Monastery. The monument was located via the many niches carved on the Aigaleo mountain slope, also noted by the French author Gustave Flaubert (1821-1880) on Christmas 1850. The sanctuary of Aphrodite was also a basic stop of the Eleusinian procession. D. Kampouroglou, the first excavator of the site found statuettes of Aphrodite and other gods, some reflecting the art of the school of Pheidias. He also located traces of a stoa, an altar, living quarters for the priests and the base for the statue of the goddess. In the 1930s, I. Traulos and K. Kourouniotis concluded the excavations. The sanctuary has a roughly rectangular enclosure wall (71×21 m), with an entrance and propylon to the south. There was a very small, almost square temple, with a doric portico and marble roof, on the west side of the wall. There is also a stoa and other buildings of unknown function. There are many bases of statues and votive inscriptions to Aphrodite, as well as altars and other votives, mainly clay figurines depicting the goddess, or vulvae and birds, the symbols of the goddess. It seems that the whole area of the sanctuary, including the niches would have been full of votive offerings, including statues, stelae, large vessels etc. A complex to the south probably served as residence area for both priests and travellers. A rectangular guard house (25×15 m) lies south of the Sacred Way. Two later sarcophagi testify to its funerary re-use. The exact establishment date of the sanctuary is unknown, but it should not be earlier than the 4th century BC. The sanctuary lived until the Roman times and is today open to the public.
The Sacred Way at Skaramangas
The Sacred Way (Ancient Greek: Ἱερὰ Ὁδός, Hierá Hodós), in ancient Greece, was the road from Athens to Eleusis. It was so called because it was the route taken by a procession celebrating the Eleusinian Mysteries. The procession to Eleusis began at Kerameikos (the Athenian cemetery) on the 19th Boedromion.In Greece today, the road from central Athens to Aegaleo and Chaidari (the old route to Eleusis) is called the Iera Odos after the ancient road. Roads connecting ancient towns to important sanctuaries, such as Athens and Eleusina were named «sacred». The official name of the Athenian Sacred Way was «Eleusinian», according to incriptions. It was assumingly established in the Late Helladic period(1600-100 BC) for reasons of communication between the settlements of Athens and Eleusina. The cult of Demeter is dated to the 11th century BC or earlier. By the mid 8th century, the use of the Sacred Way had been well established. Eleusina became part of the Athenian state in the second half of the 6th century, during the Peisistratid tyranny. The sanctuary acquired new buildings and the Sacred Way was remodelled and stayed in use throughout Antiquity.The sanctuary declined with the gradual rise of Christianity and the severe imperial decrees against paganism in the 4th century AD. Finally, Alaric’s Visigoths sacked the place in 395 AD and turned it to ruins. Nonetheless, the Sacred Way continued to link Eleusina and the surrounding villages to Athens. Many parts of the ancient road remained visible in the 19th century. Parts of the ancient road have been exposed at Kerameikos and at the plain of Kephisos river, such as in front of the 9th Primary School at Chaidari. Road terraces are built with stone boulders set on the natural chalk. The lower road surface layer is the bedrock with artificial chalk soil fill for natural cavities. The middle layer is a fill of chalk soil and small boulders. The upper layer is cobbled. There are intermediate layers of sand and gravel. Another major part of the road has been exposed further to the west. Smaller parts have been located to the east too, within the Chaidari municipality. A great and well preserved part of the Sacred Way has been excavated close to the sanctuary of Aphrodite at Aphaia Skaramanga, while many more but shorter parts have been exposed from there to Eleusina. The average road width is 5 m. Rocky slopes, such as the Echo hill (today Kapsalonas hill, on the northeast foot of Mt Poikilo), were dug out, while downslopes were terraced in order to support the road. In sandy areas, such as around Lake Koumoundourou the underlayer was cobbles and soil. The part in front of the Sanctuary of Aphrodite preserves wheel furrows.
Reitoi (Koumoundourou Lake)
Reitoi (Koumoundourou Lake). Reitoi were two small artificial lakes on the west foot of Mt Aigaleo. Their springs were in natural cavities, which were blocked in antiquity. The stream outlets to the sea were crossed via bridges. Before these works the place had been a swamp and impossible to cross. The water had salt, due to its proximity to the sea. The north lake was devoted to Demeter and the south to Persephone. The latter is preserved until today and is called Lake Koumoundourou. It marks the border between Chaidari and Aspropyrgos, and it used to be the boundary between Athens and Eleusina. I. Traulos recognized that some of the building blocks of the dam came from the Peisistratian sanctuary at Eleusina, which was destroyed by the Persians in 479 BC. An inscription of the Athenian Boule of 421 BC, now in the Museum of Eleusina, mentions the construction of a bridge 1.5 m wide, hence for pedestrians only. Both streams and lakes had been preserved until the 19th century and featured two water mills, noted by François Pouqueville, while Gustave Flaubert saw only a swamp. Until the 1950s both lakes were natural fish reserves. The south lake was named either after the local land owners, or prime minister Alexandros Koumoundouros (1817-1883), responsible for road building in the area during the 1860s. The post-World War II widening of the national road reduced the size of the lake significantly. The north lake, Kephalari, was backfilled during the construction of the oil refinery at Aspropyrgos. Its place is today marked by a swamp.
Skaramaga coast is situated on the east coast of the Bay of Eleusis. The Aigaleo mountain to the east separates it from Athens and Piraeus. Skaramagkas is 5 km west of Chaidari town centre and 11 km west of Athens city centre. Greek National Road 8 passes through Skaramagkas. Skaramagkas coastal line held a magnificent scenery with a popular seaside. We have plenty of description from poets and travel writers. It became an industrial area. Since 1937 Skaramagkas harbour has been home to a shipyard of the Hellenic Navy. After destruction in World War II, it was refounded as a commercial shipyard in 1957, the Hellenic Shipyards Co.. In 2002, the port became entirely owned by a German group of investors under the industrial leadership of Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft, which became a subsidiary of ThyssenKrupp in 2005.
Day 1, route 2
(7-11p.m) In collaboration with the auto organized space of Orizontas Gegonoton, we will visit Demosion Sema in Kerameikos in order to perform a public reading of Pericles’ Funeral Oration at the place that was initially delivered in ancient Athens. In his famous speech, known from Thucydides’ History of the Peloponnesian War, Pericles addresses issues on Democracy and Polis. The reading will be followed by in situ discussion on the topic “The city of Athens is us, the Athenians”. Then visit the auto organized space of Orizontas Gegonoton, one corner down at Plataion & Kerameikou str. Οn the occasion of the presentation of the ongoing project “Invisible Islands”, a cultural trip in the aegean islands, we will adress on issues relevant to landscape strategies, sustainable tourism and the new coastal law in Greece. .
Demosion Sema”, the public cemetery of the ancient city of Athens, extended just outside the Dipylon gate. The graves were constructed along the sides of the road which became very wide (up to 40 m.) outside the walls. A part of the “Demosion Sema” cemetery has been brought to light in 1997, during a rescue excavation. The Public Sepulchre (Demosion Sema) came into existence along the road which ran from the Dipylon to the Academy, covering a distance of aproximately 1,500 m. At its beginning the width was as much as 40 m. Apart from scattered references in the ancient sources, there is the extensive description of Pausanias (I, 29, 2-16) of the 2nd century A.D. Here were the graves of public figures such as Solon, the tyrant slayers, Kleisthenes, the democratic leader Ephialtes, Perikles, the rhetoricians Euboulos and Lykourgos, the philosophers Zenon and Chrysippos, and generals such as Phormion, Thrasyboulos and Chabrias. In addition there were so many common graves (polyandria) of those who had fallen in war that the Demosion Sema gave the impression of being a military cemetery. The use of the area as a cemetery, with burials at public expense, is in evidence from the time of Solon. The systematic common burial at public expense of those fallen in war appears to have been regular practice from the time of Kimon. Both common burials and burials of public figures continue in this place at least until the 3rd century B.C. During the official ceremony of burial, honours of immortality were given to the heroes fallen in war whose bones had been brought to Athens from the field of battle. Games were held, a funeral speech was delivered and the state undertook the care of their families. Stelai were erected over the graves with the names of the fallen according to tribe (phylai). Despite numerous excavations in the area during the past 40 years, and the location of many sections of the road, none of the important burial monuments had been found other than the few included in the archaeological site of the Kerameikos.
Auto organized space of Orizontas
Orizontas is a typical old Athenian two floor house. It has a central courtyard with rooms all around. It was a ruin, as most of the old neoclassical small houses in the areas of Kerameikos. With the collaboration of the local community, the Orizontas team transformed the building into an open cultural space.
(upcoming tour) November 4
Pireaus Tower, 1pm (rv at the entrance of the Tower)
Manolis Economou calls us to a tour-experiential action in “Skyscraper”: The building known as Tower of Piraeus, is a ghost building that stands in the port of Piraeus in the early 70s unfinished. Urban legends are connected with its existence. Trully, what is the real position in the history of the city?
We will hold an insitu debate about the relationship of the landscape of Attica with tall buildings; a relationship that is inconsistent but with which the architecture of 70 flirted. And the trend of the skyscraper seems to be back in urban development of Athens p.eg Elliiniko International Airport (former airport of Athens)
Jose Sanchez comes to the 2014 installment of Out There Doing It, the LA Forum’s annual series on emergent practice, wearing many titles: architect, programmer, game designer, researcher, and professor. His draws from each field and offers up a unique perspective on what gaming and open-source systems can do for design practice. He is the director of Plethora Project and partner at Bloom Games. He just finished co-organizing a successful ACADIA conference at USC. We asked him a few questions in preparation of his participation in OTDI 2014.
What’s design practice in Los Angeles today?
I’ve been in L.A. for only year but I can already sense the influence of the city in my work. My work in L.A. is not about the landscape or the physical context of the city, but rather the large amount of cultural voices that manifest themselves in the city sporadically. I don’t see one L.A. but a series of intensifications that are not rooted in a place but rather migrate and dissipate over time.
Does the urban landscape figure into you approach projects and concepts?
No, it doesn’t. My work researches the problem of design as a problem of negative entropy that can be understood at any scale or context.
Briefly discuss one project you presented at the OTDI round table on October 16.
I shared the BLOCK project, a video-game project that I developed at the Smart Geometry 2014 Conference in Hong Kong.
BLOCK is a video game for city planning and speculation. The game is founded on ideas of ecology, establishing the interdependencies of city entities such as housing, shops, parks, and infrastructure. By allowing the player to understand how to use resources (money, waste, social capital), we can encourage entrepreneurship through the design of an ecological urbanism, allowing for new opportunities to be conceived in the city. The objective of the game is to both educate people and to generate user data for design patterns, producing the first database of a future city.
How do you “host”?
My “hosting” can be understood as a playground. My practice the Plethora Project combines design work, with online education, game design, and open-source repositories, inviting a community to engage and discuss the ideas behind the research. My hosting can be understood in a literal sense because I have an active community of roughly 1,000 video views a day, all of them from the teaching material I have developed.
I consider hosting, and nurturing a community around the work, an essential part of the design work I do, as my interest in innovation comes with a quota of skepticism, thinking novelty will only emerge from a larger accumulation of thinkers.