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Activate Modern Ruins

London, United Kingdom
1 of 4
Reanimating the modern ruin of Hellinikon airport in Athens, Greece. From 'Archiving urban decay: Reanimate modern ruins' at 15th Venice Architecture Biennale.

Activate Modern Ruins is an on-going investigation of declining infrastructures, abandoned buildings and cities through photographic documentation, theoretical texts and speculative projects. The notion of 'ruin' has changed dramatically over the last ten years. We consider 'modern ruins' as the spatial manifestations of recent global socio-economic transformations. Examples include the 'ghost towns' such as Sesena (Spain), Craco (Italy) and Pripyat (Ukraine), abandoned infrastructure like the Ellinikon airport in Athens (Greece) and the DMC factory in Mulhouse (France), as well as vacant buildings in some of Europe's biggest cities.

This project seeks to identify typologies of modern ruins across Europe and document their material and immaterial conditions. It extends beyond a mere accumulation of historical records. It rather engages local communities and architects in the search for alternative scenarios for the re-use of our European architectural and urban heritage.

In particular, it proposes a process on how to activate of modern ruins through 5 steps:

  1. Explore the Ruin! is an open call to urban explorers in various European cities to document modern ruins and submit the material online in a form of text, photos, collected objects, drawings or videos.
  2. Save the Ruin! will set up a digital archive which will organise and make available the collected material to the public, and raise awareness about the urban phenomenon of declining built environments.
  3. Crowdsource the Ruin! will then use social media platforms to communicate the archived case studies and invite people and local communities to contribute with ideas and possible future scenarios.
  4. Render the Ruin! will invite architects to respond and deliver concrete suggestions on specific case studies based on what the community wants and needs and how these activities or non-activities could be hosted in existing built forms.
  5. Debate the Ruin! will organise a series of events that will present and openly discuss part of the digital archive and the architectural proposals submitted by the invited architects.
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bostjan, November 24th, 2017
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