Architectural Autopsy: Learning From Diaspora

Drawing of while building top with red sign saying Greektown Casino Hotel

"Immigrants are both folk anthropologists and informants at the same time," says Ramaswami Mahalingam at the introduction of her book Cultural Psychology of Immigrants (Routledge, 2006). The new worldviews, cultural practices, and beliefs that all immigrants inevitably encounter have an immediate effect on the way they "represent" their "home culture" while trying to make sense of their "host culture." Having the above as a starting point, the exhibition touches upon issues of migration, self-identity, and the "architecture of belonging." It is an architectural autopsy — an anthropological reading — of the American Greek-towns and their modes of representation. The fusion between the Greek and the American culture within the Greek-towns provides a unique platform for cultural observations and architectural speculations that aim to provoke a discussion on issues of migration and identity. This exhibition was curated by Michail Papavarnavas and Konstantinos Petrakos (M.Arch.II '17). Additional team members include Georgia Drakou, Michalis Karamichalis, Valia Kavalla, Polymnia Skorda, Natalia Sotirchou, Pelagia Spyridonidou, Thodoris Tselepidis, Silas Andonopoulos, and Athina Xenouli.

Michael Papavarnavas is an architect from Greece and is a principal architect at Polity. He holds a degree in architecture from the University of Patras and was awarded a master of design studies from Harvard GSD in 2017. He is currently a Ph.D. candidate in architectural history and theory at the Bartlett School of Architecture at University College London.

Konstantinos Petrakos is cofounder of Polity and is a Ph.D. candidate in architectural theory at the University of Patras. He holds a degree with honors in architecture from the University of Patras and received a master of architecture in 2017 from Cornell University, where he was awarded the John Hartell Graduate Award. Petrakos is a licensed architect in Europe.