Date: May 17, 2018
Border walls are historically interwoven with power and control. The fear of the foreign threat gave rise to the first fortifications and today the xenophobia, instigated by power and the need to demonstrate a "show of strength", propose the reproduction of this past form, the philosophy of isolation and alienation, understandable in a threatening world. This diploma design thesis proposes a redemption of the identity of borders. The main question is how the synbiosis on the border could be presumed. How a limit, instead of separating, could instead be inviting; a porous formation that would urge the encounter. This transcending element would be a place of acceptance and experience.
The proposal does not aim to create new walls, but is a intervening exercise on how existing walls could be adjusted to the contemporary philosophy of "syn" and become symbols of a symbiotic relationship between people. For this reason, a part of the byzantine walls of Thessaloniki, located in Eptapyrgio, was chosen as a subject of study. The design was guided by three parameters - corrosion, quality of space and the identity of the wall. The logic of subtraction/corrosion was inspired by the way fire ants create underground colonies, networks of tunnels, by corroding the soil. As far as the spatial qualities are concerned, R. Sommer's (Personal Space: The Behavioral Basis of Design, 1969) theory of territoriality, which proposes the duality of Space as a concept - space as territory and space a distance - served as the theoretical framework. With set theory as the mathematical tool, the spatial relations were given a morphological potential. Finally, the wall itself, its morphology, structure and characteristics influenced the design since they provide patterns suggesting the course and progress of the intervention/corrosion. "Redeemable Borders" do not predefine forms, but act as the stimuli to a process of corrosion, a feedback mechanism which would evolve through time and adjust. The aim of my proposal is to retrofit a morphology that rejects the expression of "I" to a morphology that accepts, supports and motivates the expression of personality.