Learning from Failures: Architectures of Emergency in Contested Spaces (Pyla, Cyprus)


  • Socrates Stratis University of Cyprus




One of the characteristics of contested spaces of ethno-religious origin is the failure to work around common projects. This is the case of the community of Pyla, Cyprus, one of a few inter-ethnic communities on the island. Architectural and planning practices are urged to contribute to the process of reconciliation, despite the lack of an on-going official reconciliation process, and their lack of power.

Recently, there has been an increasing number of practices in Cyprus that re-examine their field of operation and readjust their design tools accordingly. One of them is the Architectures of Emergency initiative, in which the author participates, which employs characteristics of ‘first aid’ architecture by inserting moments of publicness into the void created by the absence of a common institutional framework between the two communities.

Author Biography

Socrates Stratis, University of Cyprus

Socrates Stratis is Tenure Track Professor in the Department of Architecture, University of Cyprus. He has a doctorate degree in Urban Studies-Planning from the University of Paris 8, France, and a Bachelor and Master Degree in Architecture (Urban Design) from Cornell University, USA. He is one of the founders of the agency AA & U For Architecture, Art and Urbanism. His work has been exhibited and published internationally, including the Venice Architecture Biennales in 2004, 2006 and 2008.