Christiana Pitsillidou and Biljana Kašule Nikolić
Christiana Pitsillidou is a Greek –Cypriot architect. Educated in the United Kingdom (Leicester School of Architecture) and Norway (The Oslo school of Architecture and Design). Currently based in Oslo, she has been a student assistant for the Oslo Architecture Triennale 2016 – “the Academy”. In 2014 she collaborated for a cabin design in Årnes (Norway) which has been built in collaboration with the Oslo School of Architecture and a building team of 15 students. She has gained professional experience while working at several projects at *Draftwork Architects in the Old town Nicosia, Cyprus. An affinity towards theoretical research, narration in architecture, the use of tools and digital techniques has always inspired her work.
Biljana Kašule Nikolić is currently finishing her master studies in Landscape Architecture and Urbanism at The Oslo School of Architecture and Design, AHO. During her bachelor studies in Architecture and Furniture Design, Faculty of Applied Arts in Serbia she published modular design of marble stone relieves in collaboration with design group TOK and Belgrade Chamber of Commerce (2014). She has worked as an assistant to Jeppe Aagaard Andersen, Danish Architect and Landscape Architect on Urban Design project of Shanghai Acrobat School in China, opening in 2017 (2015). Participating in Master Class for Urban Studies Brussels 2015, her group work got published. Her profile has changed towards a more resilient view of urban planning, as well shifting between the scales.
Hyphen City: A counter masterplan for Los Angeles River
Tutoring by Luis Callejas and Kai J. Reaver
SHORT DESCRIPTION: The word hyphen is related to film scripting and it is the implemented method in order to achieve a speculative understanding of tangible and intangible spaces in Los Angeles River. Due to its own dimension and the concrete realm, it pictures itself as another type of freeway, another “endless plain” of Los Angeles. Its spatial quality and monumentality lies on a site less “field” for speculative attempts becoming an infinite grid and the concentrated site for the thesis once its invisible augmented qualities are verified. In the situation of Los Angeles River; concrete has become a new landscape condition, a playground for film production, used to explore a psychogeographical reality. Virtual images of the selected films have become the surreal substitutes of the “natural”. The channel created altered spaces, fragmented images related to speed, scale, materiality and perspective. Its projection and documentation in a variety of fictions have enabled it to be a self-referential and authentic object, yet they appear as a whole contributing to its totality as a liminal space. The narrative for the diploma project is developed through the vivid capture of the landscape and architecture through specific framing but also through color techniques which reveal certain pallets. Those are the very initial ideas of the eight films under study, which further explore its site less qualities depending on their level of fiction, speed and psychogeography. Given that the river’s visual history is extraordinarily experienced at certain speeds and environments; the space of the Los Angeles River has been plot-mapped and observed through hyphen speculations varied from real to fictional scenarios of fragments.
Los Angeles, CA
34.0522° N, 118.2437° W
the sign (-) used to join words to indicate that they have a combined meaning or that they are linked in the grammar of a sentence (as in a pick-me-up, rock-forming minerals ), to indicate the division of a word at the end of a line, or to indicate a missing element (as in short- and long-term).
Hyphen is used as a joint of two things(words). It is thus either a division of a word, or the linked compound. Hyphen is generally represented in written form, as long as it is part of a script (screenplay), a grammatical symbol. In the thesis, the word hyphen is related to film scripting and it is the linking method in order to achieve a speculative understanding of tangible and intangible spaces.
A new landscape
“Bearing in mind that our children will certainly not see nor interpret landscapes the way we have done they will become even more detached from analogue reality”*, technology has certainly played a significant role in the segmented perception of contemporary landscapes we hold today.
Virtual images have become the surreal substitutes of the “natural”. In the situation of Los Angeles river; concrete has become a new landscape condition, a playground manifested in film production from 1950’s and onwards, when it was used to explore a psychogeographical reality. The channel created altered spaces, fragmented images related to speed, scale and materiality. The fascination derives exactly from these very first perceptive notions which tend to present identical atmospheres for Los Angeles. Influenced and disrupted by all the fantasy neighbouring structures, the river has become a spectacle for its own sake, a self-contained complex and polymorphic feature with various typologies of juxtapositions, a source of theatrical interpretation.
A site-less condition
The existing monumentality of the river questions the spatial understanding in terms of scale, materiality and perspective. As an authentic object, due to its own dimension and the hugeness of the concrete realm, it pictures itself as another type of freeway, another “endless plain” of Los Angeles1. Enormous and independent proves itself as a megastructure, being a self-supporting construct, capturing its own world. Being everywhere and nowhere, driving the society to a new apparatus with its absolute minimal architectural and landscape qualities, the river is recognized as an ambiguous feature. Its spatial quality lies on a siteless “field” for speculative attempts becoming an infinite grid and the concentrated site for the thesis once its invisible augmented qualities are verified. Synergies of territorial to regional scale, will be extracted while further narrowing down to local site specific design interventions in order to fully explore its authenticity, spatial quality and future.
1Reyner Banham (1971) Los Angeles: Architecture of Four Ecologies, University of California Press
A new narrative
The narrative for the diploma is developed through the vivid capture of the landscape and architecture through specific framing but also through colour techniques which reveal certain palletes. Those are the very initial ideas of the selected films under study, in which we further explore their siteless qualities depending on their level of fiction, speed and psychogeography. Perhaps this is related to the marginal psychogeography of each, which potentially questions the future of the projected space and the city of Los Angeles. Given that its visual history is extraordinarily experienced at certain speeds and certain environments; what kind of speculation can be made to reference a siteless yet liminal space, architecture and landscape as the Los Angeles River? 1
In the case of the Los Angeles River, the “new landscape” as concrete has been redirected in accelerated motion and turned its spatial definition into fluid sequences. The river is chosen due to its spatial capacity to be projected and documented in a variety of fictions that have been scripted and edited as self-referential works, yet they appear as a whole contributing to the totality of the river as a liminal space*.
*from the Latin word limen, meaning “a threshold”, or else relating to a transitional or initial stage of a process, or occupying a position at, or on both sides of, a boundary or threshold.
1Christopher Girot, “Movism”, in Cadrages 1, le Regards Actif (Zurich Verlag, 2002)
Imagining Urban Rivers
The totality of light, air, texture and sound in urban landscapes has always been in transit enforcing the interval between imagination and reality as documented in art and literature of 19th and 20th century, when public space along rivers has been captured to further mayor urban development. Manifestation of such defective traces in smell along the River Seine in Paris was described in Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables (1862), describing sewage systems as underground haunt of both lowlife and revolutionaries. Shortly after, Hugo detected: “Today, the sewer is clean, cold, and upright, proper… One can almost see clearly in it. The mire is well-behaved. ”
Christopher Girot argued that the culture of landscape had to go through a visual revolution of sorts, before it could move into an aesthetic definition of landscape. 1 In the age of point cloud terrestrial laser scans and such advanced tools of depiction, and thus in video the river as the landscape is to be distinguished as an artificial interpretation by all means, in which invisible future substitutes may be developed.1 Architecture and landscape perceived through motion and sorts of fiction can be argued that it has experienced a new visual theory as significant as Renaissance paintings and picturesque documentations. There is an extraordinary power in electronic media and scripting that makes these modern images not only able to depict facts and conditions, but also to create new ideals of nature and urbanity, much like the late Impressionists depicted their industrial reality. The transient understanding of the city, river and landscape, has been experienced as accidental déjà vu exactly due to their new visual perception through the digital.
1Christopher Girot, “Movism”, in Cadrages 1, le Regards Actif (Zurich Verlag, 2002)