Commissario: Secretary General of Spatial Planning and Urban Environment, Eirini Klampatsea
Curatori: Xristina Argyros, Ryan Neiheiser
The School of Athens is an ambition; a utopian vision of a free, open, informal, and common space for learning. It is an in-between space. Neither inside nor outside, not quite a room, but also not simply a space for circulation. It is not a classroom, and yet we see scholars and students debating, teaching, and studying. Architects throughout history have experimented with different spatial strategies for creating ‘freespaces’ in academic institutions – unprogrammed spaces for impromptu conversations, casual gossip, heated debate, pop-up events, networking, and informal teaching. The architecture of the commons is vital to the university’s continued relevance and vibrancy, and deserves intelligent critique and continual update. There is therefore an urgent need to both look back, and to scan across the current landscape of university architecture, to extract compelling and successful spaces that are ‘free’ – unprogrammed, common, and democratic.