Designing a storm within Green Line won 1st prize in International Competition

 Published by: in cyprus
 http://incyprus.philenews.com/en-gb/local-news/4422/42385/designing-a-storm-within-the-green-line


Having addressed the shortage of water and the conflict between the Greek and Turkish Cypriots, Cypriot fifth year architecture student Stefanos Theodorou recently won first prize in the “UIA-HYP Cup 2014 International Student Competition In Architectural Design”, an achievement he believes profiled the Cyprus problem to the world and made a statement through architecture.
Entitled “The Unexpected STORM in Nicosia, Cyprus”, the awarded project resulted from Theodorou’s work with Biel Susanna Viladot from the Polytechnic University of Catalonia and holds Cyprus’ dividing line as its inspiration.
A student at Finland’s Aalto University, Theodorou personally researched the Green Line last summer.
The reasoning behind his choice of architecture for his studies is reflected in the direction he and his partner’s work eventually took.
“I am interested in any architectural approach that creates environments and spaces, which promote people’s well-being. It doesn’t matter whether the approach is designing a new building or restoring an old one. The importance lies in the outcome which should reflect the needs of the current society while also adopting the evolving social activities of the future,” reveals Theodorou.
Aside from that, the evolution of architecture into a multidisciplinary profession was an additional influence in determining Theodorou’s choice.
 “From a time when the architect was the builder himself, it has evolved into a profession that takes into consideration aesthetical, practical, social and political aspects through their design process,” explains Theodorou.
 “Finland is a socialist country and has a history of great architects like Alvar Aalto who contributed to developing an internationally recognised architectural and design language. I would like to learn from their viewpoint how architecture works, and share that knowledge back in Cyprus.”
In that sense, the concept behind the award winning design contributes to Theodorou’s aspiration. Bearing in mind that the concept of the project addresses two local matters – that of the shortage of water and the conflict between the Greek and Turkish Cypriots – the proposal is symbolised by a storm which builds up and releases the tension as well as rain water which is so crucial for any living form. 
“Similarly, our proposal releases the tension of our political, social and economic differences that will allow a new, common future to grow through our common need: water. Our storm brings water and water brings life,” explains Theodorou.
In this aspect, the Green Line is regarded as a factor separating the two communities and in the proposal is used as the reunifying element both in a historical context and current situation. 
“The storm, a water storage and purification factory, sits unexpectedly in the middle of the historical city and centre of Nicosia. We created, ironically another wall, which becomes a monument and part of the existing historical Venetian walls which used to protect and unify Nicosia. It works as a reminder of the past but also as a trigger for a better, sustainable future through collaborative living in a unified nation. It is the new symbol, not only of Nicosia, but of the whole Cyprus. We monumentalise the process and the element of water which is vital for any living form, therefore vital for Cyprus and its people,” reveals Theodorou.
It’s through Theodorou’s research on the Green Line that these symbols and the need to monumentalise the area’s existing conditions and potential perhaps come together in the project.
 “When visiting Nicosia and the Green Line, I came to realise how sacred the site is. It is, on the one hand, sad, yet it’s also a magnificent part of our history which is shared by both sides. It is a symbol for all the deaths and conflicts that took place, and yet today, the two communities have managed to survive through extremely harsh situations. Therefore the Green Line should be preserved to its existing state along with our proposal, demonstrating our respect for our history, but also initiating a new start for collaborative living.”
For Theodorou, getting to know the area better and attempting to re-envision it through the competition helped him express and share his position about the matter.
“Through the collaborative thinking and design processes with Biel and our supervisor, Post-Doctoral Researcher Ciu Chen-Yu, we demonstrated the Cyprus problem to the world and made a statement through architecture; a statement which targets the well-being of Cypriot citizens, by allowing new social activities and cultures to develop in a unified country. As a Cypriot citizen I feel I have the responsibility to address this issue and fight for what is best for my country and promote collaborative work to ensure a brighter future for this culturally rich island,” Theodorou tells the paper.
Even the process of selecting Nicosia with his partner generated a wave of respect but also shed light on a matter that is perhaps not known outside of Cyprus.
 “When we started the competition with Biel, we were between two site approaches that have great significance. One was Catalonia and their desire for separation from Spain. The second was Cyprus (Nicosia) and the desire for unification of the two fragmented communities. We chose Nicosia and Biel was more than willing to learn more about the history of Cyprus. Therefore, his name in the competition entry is placed first, in order to show him my great respects for learning and sharing his concerns for my country’s issues,” concludes Theodorou.
As he clearly states, taking part in architectural competitions gives students a great opportunity to develop their design ideas and concerns. And for Theodorou, this particular competition was a great chance to make, not just a design proposal, but also a social and political statement on a current, major issue on the island.
The jury meeting of “UIA-HYP Cup 2014 International Student Competition In Architectural Design” took place at Tsinghua University on September 20. A total number of 867 entries were received, and 42 of them were awarded. One team received the first prize, three teams shared second, nine teams were awarded third prize and 29 teams received an honourable mention.

Having addressed the shortage of water and the conflict between the Greek and Turkish Cypriots, Cypriot fifth year architecture student Stefanos Theodorou recently won first prize in the “UIA-HYP Cup 2014 International Student Competition In Architectural Design”, an achievement he believes profiled the Cyprus problem to the world and made a statement through architecture.
Entitled “The Unexpected STORM in Nicosia, Cyprus”, the awarded project resulted from Theodorou’s work with Biel Susanna Viladot from the Polytechnic University of Catalonia and holds Cyprus’ dividing line as its inspiration.
A student at Finland’s Aalto University, Theodorou personally researched the Green Line last summer.
The reasoning behind his choice of architecture for his studies is reflected in the direction he and his partner’s work eventually took.
“I am interested in any architectural approach that creates environments and spaces, which promote people’s well-being. It doesn’t matter whether the approach is designing a new building or restoring an old one. The importance lies in the outcome which should reflect the needs of the current society while also adopting the evolving social activities of the future,” reveals Theodorou.
Aside from that, the evolution of architecture into a multidisciplinary profession was an additional influence in determining Theodorou’s choice.
 “From a time when the architect was the builder himself, it has evolved into a profession that takes into consideration aesthetical, practical, social and political aspects through their design process,” explains Theodorou.
 “Finland is a socialist country and has a history of great architects like Alvar Aalto who contributed to developing an internationally recognised architectural and design language. I would like to learn from their viewpoint how architecture works, and share that knowledge back in Cyprus.”
In that sense, the concept behind the award winning design contributes to Theodorou’s aspiration. Bearing in mind that the concept of the project addresses two local matters – that of the shortage of water and the conflict between the Greek and Turkish Cypriots – the proposal is symbolised by a storm which builds up and releases the tension as well as rain water which is so crucial for any living form. 
“Similarly, our proposal releases the tension of our political, social and economic differences that will allow a new, common future to grow through our common need: water. Our storm brings water and water brings life,” explains Theodorou.
In this aspect, the Green Line is regarded as a factor separating the two communities and in the proposal is used as the reunifying element both in a historical context and current situation. 
“The storm, a water storage and purification factory, sits unexpectedly in the middle of the historical city and centre of Nicosia. We created, ironically another wall, which becomes a monument and part of the existing historical Venetian walls which used to protect and unify Nicosia. It works as a reminder of the past but also as a trigger for a better, sustainable future through collaborative living in a unified nation. It is the new symbol, not only of Nicosia, but of the whole Cyprus. We monumentalise the process and the element of water which is vital for any living form, therefore vital for Cyprus and its people,” reveals Theodorou.
It’s through Theodorou’s research on the Green Line that these symbols and the need to monumentalise the area’s existing conditions and potential perhaps come together in the project.
 “When visiting Nicosia and the Green Line, I came to realise how sacred the site is. It is, on the one hand, sad, yet it’s also a magnificent part of our history which is shared by both sides. It is a symbol for all the deaths and conflicts that took place, and yet today, the two communities have managed to survive through extremely harsh situations. Therefore the Green Line should be preserved to its existing state along with our proposal, demonstrating our respect for our history, but also initiating a new start for collaborative living.”
For Theodorou, getting to know the area better and attempting to re-envision it through the competition helped him express and share his position about the matter.
“Through the collaborative thinking and design processes with Biel and our supervisor, Post-Doctoral Researcher Ciu Chen-Yu, we demonstrated the Cyprus problem to the world and made a statement through architecture; a statement which targets the well-being of Cypriot citizens, by allowing new social activities and cultures to develop in a unified country. As a Cypriot citizen I feel I have the responsibility to address this issue and fight for what is best for my country and promote collaborative work to ensure a brighter future for this culturally rich island,” Theodorou tells the paper.
Even the process of selecting Nicosia with his partner generated a wave of respect but also shed light on a matter that is perhaps not known outside of Cyprus.
 “When we started the competition with Biel, we were between two site approaches that have great significance. One was Catalonia and their desire for separation from Spain. The second was Cyprus (Nicosia) and the desire for unification of the two fragmented communities. We chose Nicosia and Biel was more than willing to learn more about the history of Cyprus. Therefore, his name in the competition entry is placed first, in order to show him my great respects for learning and sharing his concerns for my country’s issues,” concludes Theodorou.
As he clearly states, taking part in architectural competitions gives students a great opportunity to develop their design ideas and concerns. And for Theodorou, this particular competition was a great chance to make, not just a design proposal, but also a social and political statement on a current, major issue on the island.
The jury meeting of “UIA-HYP Cup 2014 International Student Competition In Architectural Design” took place at Tsinghua University on September 20. A total number of 867 entries were received, and 42 of them were awarded. One team received the first prize, three teams shared second, nine teams were awarded third prize and 29 teams received an honourable mention.

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