The Floor is not the Ground

Ecologies of Interruptions in Transportation Infrastructure


  • George Papam Papamattheakis Harokopio University in Athens, Urban Geography



Although transportation infrastructures occupy an important part of public space, they have apparently been lead astray by recent developments in logistics services. Despite the categorical difference between transportation and logistics, narratives of quality, security and standards accompanied by specific spatial patterns, have infiltrated our everyday mobility infrastructures. Space structure is defined by logistics-influenced ‘functional diagrams’ and is reduced to mere transitory settings. This essay is an effort to challenge the contemporary ‘fulfilment’-influenced, network-based perception of human transportation spaces, towards, instead, a relational, and effectively political, understanding of them. This is not to return to previous debates on the re-emergence of place and identity, but rather to seek possible strategies of interruption of that detrimental, endlessly intensified circulation imposed on public space. The essay is structured upon two competing ideas, conceptually represented by the notions of floor and ground. The floor is the most important element of logistics architecture, preparing a smooth surface for commodities circulation. By contrast, the ground embraces anomalies representing finitude, an important notion for the project of interruptions. The essay proposes a recalibration and balancing of both these forces, establishing an ecology that also encourages seemingly ‘unproductive’ relations, detours and other spaces of distractions, ideas that logistical architecture cannot even grasp.

Author Biography

George Papam Papamattheakis, Harokopio University in Athens, Urban Geography

George Papam Papamattheakis is a postgraduate student of Urban Geography at the Harokopio University in Athens, Greece. He previously studied Architecture at the schools of National Technical University of Athens (NTUA) and Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule (ETH) in Zurich. George has worked on issues related to the architecture and geography of infrastructures, he has contributed to Log,Clog and Cartha magazines, the Lisbon Biennale of Architecture, and Bartlett’s Lobby. He is the co-editor of the upcoming book Misprint Athens: Toward a New Paradigm (due 2019, published in Greek), a collection of texts and projects documenting the procedures of ΣΟΔΑ, a collaboration platform for graduate architecture students in the context of post-crisis Athens.


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