spotlight: STOP

spotlight: STOP
The case study of a reuse, as part of the natural evolution of a city

Alina Kalomenopoulou
Athens, Greece
Team members
Alina Kalomenopoulou
Field of work
Architecture, Urban planning, Ecology, Film, Research
Project category
Project submitted

I am Alina Kalomenopoulou, an Architect from Greece, with a developed interest in sustainability, cinematography, social issues, and urbanism. I am intrigued by traveling around the world and documenting it through an architectural scope. I graduated with an integrated Master’s from Technical University of Crete in the Department of Architecture. My main aspiration is not "add" to the built environment, but to find ways to make it more inclusive, environmentally respectful, and socially present, through a more participatory course of action. My research thesis "DESEN(C)IT(Y)ZATION, The progress of commercial place to the elimination of public space" was concluded in September 2022 and focused on how consumer activity, and where it massively takes place, (shopping malls, etc.), has contributed and continues to contribute to the publicness of urban space, the boundary between public and private, and the process of urban design. My diploma thesis, "spotlight: STOP, The case study of a reuse, as part of the natural evolution of a city", was an experimental documentary on the reappropriation of abandoned space. I have worked as an architect in small offices, as a student researcher at her university’s architecture lab, and as a production designer's assistant. In January 2023 I participated in the Film and Architecture workshop “Leave no one Behind” organized by the Architecture Festival of Copenhagen. I am currently a research trainee at FULL (Future Urban Legacy Lab), in Torino, an urban research center where activities are based on interdisciplinary methods, collaboration, and experimentation in theory and practice, relating to issues of sustainability, social inclusivity, territorial fragility and definition of urban space. The project I am involved with is targeting the problem of energy poverty through an interdisciplinary approach that combines Architecture Analysis and Redisign, Social Research and Energy Performance, on social housing built before 1950.

The place is the space that is perceived through the human experiences that are lived in it. By turning my attention to specific spaces of consumption, I noticed how human experience is repeated and formalized in relation to a predetermined environment. As part of my research thesis, I had studied the concepts of non-place, junkspace and superplace, and the places where they are identified. I was therefore concerned with the potential evolution of our social behavior in these spaces. Particularly, I was curious about what happens when these spaces inevitably get abandoned, when orientation is crowned in new structures that meet contemporary spatial and social norms? Assuming that buildings of some historical or archaeological significance enter a process of redevelopment and restoration, what is the fate of non-places and Junkspaces? Perhaps, I thought, this is the chance for citizens to address a more personal need, that precipitates their own urban desire. Perhaps, the answer to the empty shells of cities would be for them to be given to the city's inhabitants. While searching for this condition, where residents themselves give life to empty city "shells", I discovered the peculiar case of Centro Comercial STOP. A former commercial center, in Porto, Portugal, which after being abandoned, was used by musicians for rehearsals, slowly transforming every old shop into a recording studio. Although I was very intrigued, It was very hard for me just reading about this phenomenon to visualize and understand it. My answer to this problem was to try and create an audiovisual synthesis that would help me truly understand the spacial and socially unique arrangement that was happening. This led me to travel to Porto just with my phone and create my first experimental documentary as my diploma thesis. "spotlight: STOP, The case study of a reuse, as part of the natural evolution of a city", documents, the reuse of a once "hype" shopping center, to a unique musicplace.