Technology-Driven Design Approaches to Utopia - Marcos C. Phocas
Technology-Driven Design Approaches to Utopia
Marios C. Phocas
With a foreword by Theoharis David, Pratt Institute, New York.
180 pp. with 153 illus., 230 x170 mm, hard-cover, English
Together with his colleagues and students at the University of Cyprus, Phocas challenges traditional definitions of utopia by presenting us with analytical research and clearly delineated visions of some architectural futures, which defy easy description. Some may view the architecture-diploma projects in this book skeptically as fantastical or even as frightening visions of some technologically driven future, but they are anything but fantasy. They should be appreciated as a continuing creative search for the defining of what is the meaning in our 21st-century world of »utopia" and the role of architectural technology in expressing it. This search takes us beyond the traditional notions of utopia, which have historically been illustrated as overtly romantic, whimsical images along with a plethora of mechanistic formal architectural or architectonic proposals for utopian cities or communities. Some of these utopian visions, which were realized as isolated acts during the first half of the 20th century, in as socio-economically and culturally diverse places such as the United Kingdom, suburban North America or the Indian sub-continent proved to be, once inhabited, less than utopian.
In studying the student proposals, one could argue that these
architectural visions are derived from an evolution of human technology and an understanding of growth and adaptability in nature. For instance, some of the projects propose new »building blocks« which can be likened to the ancient technology of making bricks and the quarrying and shaping of stone which led to the development of masonry construction and an entire new architecture. Other proposals can be likened to the self-generating growth and renewal process of plant life. Like in nature, we see in the students’ work proposals for structural systems that grow vertically out of constructed or natural landscapes in a symbiotic relationship with the forces of gravity, wind and sun, while mining these primal forces to enable human habitation. Others appear as in natural growth, as expandable adaptable infrastructure systems intertwined with and serving existing conditions. And yet other proposals are developed as independent systems that are more autonomous in their form and function.
Marios C. Phocas is currently Associate Professor at the Department of Architecture of the University of Cyprus. From 2006 until 2013 he served as interim head of the Department of Architecture and was responsible among others for the development and implementation of the programs of undergraduate and graduate studies in architecture at the University of Cyprus. From 2011 until 2015 he served as member of the Advisory Committee of the European Network of Heads of Schools of Architecture. Since 2007 he serves as a national representative in the European Committee on Education and Training in the Field of Architecture.
Edition Axel Menges
Marios C. Phocas
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