Studio Class at Umeå University
Studio Class at Umeå University

Negotiating the Edge

This project was developed by Andreas Prokopiou as a student from University of Nicosia, Department of Architecture and was submited to the WAS awards 2017 under the Facilities category.

The buffer zone that divides Nicosia in two parts, is a no-man’s land that resulted from the conflict between the two main ethnic groups of Cyprus in 1974. Despite the fact that the buffer zone was established 43 years ago, its edges are still affecting the urban environment from both sides. By investigating the relationship between the edge of the buffer zone and the urban environment, the project aims to propose a new system that can respond to the needs of the city in any possible future scenario. Whether the relationship between the two communities is getting better or worse, the proposed system can be efficiently adapted to its context.

Consisting of the two proposed edges, the system can operate as a strict or permeable boundary according to the needs of the future. The buffer zone formed between the two edges acts as a space of negotiation, connection or separation of the two sides depending the three future possible scenarios.

In the case of reunification of the two sides, the edges remain porous to permit the urban uses to penetrate the buffer zone. If the existence of the buffer zone continuous the porous edges allow intrusions in the buffer zone that is reduced to a narrow three dimensional scar between the two edges. The expandable structures, rising within the two edges, can shrink or expand the limits of the buffer zone under a continuous negotiation between the inhabitants of Nicosia and the authority of the United Nations. However, in the extreme case of conflict both edges become strict boundaries dividing the two sides and permit full control from the United Nations.

The proposing strategies of the edge are created either by enhancing or reversing the pre-existing conditions. The transformation of the conditions permits various relationships between the urban environment and the buffer zone or between the two sides, in order to respond to the requirements of the different scenarios.