Mapping free space

Mapping free space
The project explores the idea of customizing the city through different methods, which leads to freedom, wandering, and a stronger sense of belonging.

Lucia Kalogjera
Lisbon, Portugal
Team members
Lucia Kalogjera
Field of work
Architecture, Design, Urban planning, Film, Research
Project category
Public space
Project submitted

Architect from Zagreb, currently working and living in Lisbon. In 2018 I graduated from the University of Zagreb, Faculty of Architecture. I'm interested in filmmaking, research, and rethinking public space, mainly through architecture competitions.

Over the years, I have participated in many interdisciplinary workshops such as Mare Monti, Zadar 2020, and Gradionica. Gradionica is a team workshop with a competitive character that focuses on the revitalization of neglected city spaces. After three years of participating and having our proposals built, I spent the next two years in the organization, which was a valuable learning experience.

Besides workshops, I love collaborating on competitions and research projects as it is a fun opportunity to meet, discuss and challenge yourself. Every project started with a long dialogue, detailed analysis, and a debate that generated diverse, site-specific solutions. As my favorite competition project, I would mention 2nd prize for the Port of Dubrovnik and honorable mention for ReUse Italy: Reuse the Nymphaeum.

In 2021, I attended a film workshop, creating a short experimental movie "Trenutak između" which was shown at multiple festivals in Croatia. I started filming and writing more frequently, rethinking public space, consumption, mental struggles of an individual, and changes in the social climate through film. I enjoy the process of finding a style in film while further developing my architectural voice, and I believe merging the art forms leads to new perspectives, ideas, and solutions.

"Free space is a space that is only mine.

Free space can sometimes become non-free. Sometimes space that should be non-free is free if you've been in it forever... The bus and train terminal are free when traveling and waiting for someone, but not when passing through. Airports are free... At night, much more space becomes free."

These are inserts from a short text I wrote for a movie workshop exercise. In the text, I categorized and listed every square, street, and part of Zagreb as free/non-free. During that period, I spent a lot of time walking, so I recognized how I was instinctively drawn to some areas, often taking the longer route just to have that feeling of freedom.

I want to question the contradictions and complexities of modern life through the theme of urban exploration, self-expression, and the potential for community building through personalized experiences in the city. The desire for both privacy and visibility, the struggle between wanting to consume less while being bombarded with content, and the search for freedom and belonging in urban environments.

This project explores ways people can customize the city, make it their own, and gain a sense of playfulness and belonging - adding a custom Spotify soundtrack to a Google Maps route that is shared with other users, using scaffolding to leave traces of their presence, searching and reestablishing a shortcut, and ultimately mapping their freedom. These methods could foster a sense of playfulness and a stronger connection between people while making them feel like protagonists in their own movie.

The next phase would be applying the methods explored in Zagreb to other cities and rethinking intercity walking as a modern-age pilgrimage, making it scalable and adaptable to different locations.