Design / Architecture / Urbanism / Research by Despo Thoma.

metabasis: post invasion urban ecologies / NTUA



metabasis: post-invasion urban ecologies

Diploma Thesis
National Technical University of Athens
Athens, May 2015


From Late Latin metabasis, from Ancient Greek μετάβασις (metábasis, “a change, a transition”), from μεταβαίνω (metabaínō, “I cross”), from μετά (metá) and βαίνω (baínō, “I move”)


I cross, I move.


As a result of the Turkish military invasion in Cyprus in 1974 and the illegal occupation of part of the island, the character of Famagusta was altered dramatically. The 6 sq km district known as Varosha, was fenced off from the rest of the city, converting the biggest touristic resort of the island into a modern day ghost town. The game of transition highlights the transitional phase between any decision for the re-opening of the ghost-town and the actual re-start of the urban life.  This project aims to bring to the table decision-making entities and future residents, highlhgting the aseets, the poblems and the dynamics of the existing 42 year-old ghost town.

nomanifesto despo thoma metabasis cyprus
post-invasion urban ecologies analysis-02.png

The elements of the city are bounded territories and their hard limits redirect the economy of the city and its growth towards a narrow strip to the north. 

The areas of friction between the boundaries are highlighting the absence of cooperation between entities of the build environment and are altering dramatically the character of the city. 

nomanifesto despo thoma metabasis cyprus
nomanifesto despo thoma metabasis cyprus
nomanifesto despo thoma metabasis cyprus analysis

In the possible event of re-opening the ghost town of Varosha after 42 years, the uncertainty regarding the physical conditions and the eagerness for establishment of the various stakeholders are jeopardizing the re-start of the urban life. 'Metabasis' aims to create the space and time required for the various players to come along and discuss. 

The only information comes through satellite imagery. The area is scanned in order to identify the 5 elements: buildings / vegetation / infrastructure  / special buildings / fields. Every 30 elements, a unit is assigned. The units are unfolding step by step from north to south, forming paths through the voids of the fabric.

nomanifesto despo thoma metabasis cyprus paths
nomanifesto despo thoma metabasis cyprus paths

The paths are formed between units of the game that are realized at the same time. They act as the main system of curculation in the town. The paths remain as a memory of this phase and enhance the connection of the former residential areas with the isolated coastal front. The unit of the game is a light and movable structure to host researchers and residents for short periods. 4 basic elements: base / structure / skin / roof

nomanifesto despo thoma metabasis cyprus unit
nomanifesto despo thoma metabasis cyprus units paths
nomanifesto despo thoma metabasis cyprus units paths