Aigaleon 639 is a participatory design strategy that aims to galvanize the interest of city residents by provoking a dialogue about public space. Within the context of the community project Aigaleo City, our project focuses on social housing units in the 639 block of a disadvantaged neighborhood West of Athens center. Built in 1963, the complex consists of four, three-storey buildings surrounding an open courtyard in the middle. This small, inward-looking microcosm is home to a lively community of people nestled within the urban fabric. The scale, position and residential qualities of the complex render it as an attractive housing typology deriving from the Modern movement, despite its current dilapidated state.
Through numerous interviews and informal discussions with residents, the project gives prominence to existing features of the urban typology at the same time that it explores the potential to enhance the quality of communal space through user participation. Residents were challenged to consider specific needs and articulate their ideas in a way that produced a highly social version of the design process. In the subsequent outdoor workshop, conducted within the space of the central courtyard, residents and individuals from the broader community were invited to formulate their own version of public space by moving and assembling elements of a large, scale-model. The resulting interactive discourse acted as both process and product, bridging the divide between ideas and material reality so evident in the climate of “crisis”. At the same time, the architect’s role as “design diplomat” questioned the traditional categories of client, author, project and research.
“Aigaleon 639″ was commissioned by locus athens (Maria Thalia Carras, Olga Hatzidaki), curators for the community project Aigaleo City.
Supported by NEON
Supported by Aigaleon Municipality.