Architecture is a cultural and contextual phenomenon and as such always influenced by political, economic, social, spiritual forces, as well as by the representational drive and aspirations of those that make it: aspiritions for continuity and tradition, or for (r)evolution and change.
Buildings can thus act as masks, allowing to be or become something else at a given moment, interpreting the now in the light of the then (be it past or future) and to materialize paradigms.
Our Now and Then seminar week series will be exploring European and non-European contexts, focusing on some of their moments of self-definition, always caught in a web of near and distant past conditions. To do so, we will seek the help of various guides: thinkers, artists, architects, writers, politicians or playwrights, who will each time help us to understand a place and a time in a deeper way, and to follow some of the paths that led to their specific condition.
Athens. In a city where the—literally—towering bygone days are always looming above the city, we wish to look at the present condition of Greece in the light of its past.
Marrakesh. Layer after layer, a complex ground has been assembled, serving as a base for a country currently contemplating its diverse heritage: the Arab, the Berber, the European within.
Sicily. The island has been a much coveted centre of the region for millennia: a crossing point between Africa and Europe, between Eastern and Western Mediterranean.