Architect and educator Amalia Katopodis presents the Master Programme at Umeå School of Architecture and how education has fundamentally been restructured to respond to a reality in need of socially engaged architecture practices.
Through her own experience, she describes the changing role of the architect in relation to different societal urgencies – from the economic crisis in Greece 2010 with protests and occupations in Athens to the 2015 refugee crisis related to the war in Syria. In this context she explains how the school has organised a new master programme in Architecture and Urban Design, and developed pedagogical methodologies based on situated learning, hands-on and action-oriented approaches, and a 1:1 perspective, which has been used in a series of studio courses in response to different global challenges. In the 2019 course, students engaged with refugee issues in Lesvos and Izmir through collaborations with local organisations and people on site to develop tools for encounters between local communities and people in displacement. During the pandemic in 2020, another course dedicated to the same topic was organised in collaboration with a number of local actors in Izmir and with the Architecture Faculty at Yasar University in Izmir. Amalia presents how they have used different methodologies of engagement resulting in a number of collective strategies and individual proposals ranging from social tools to spatial organisation and built environments.
School of Architecture since 2015, where she has held the positions of Deputy Head and Program Director [2016-2020] responsible for the development and implementation of innovative pedagogical structures and approaches in education. During the past years, in collaboration with Prof. Robert Mull and within the context of UMA and the Global Free Unit she has carried out a number of summer courses and live workshops both in Izmir-Turkey and Lesvos-Greece working closely with local communities and different actors to address the topic of displacement. In recent years and working together with Sangram Shirke this has led to the establishment of the socially embedded live project studio: “Architecture for Displaced Populations in Greece and Turkey”. In 2007 she co-founded the i.architects design studio in Athens and in 2011, she was part of the team to start up the AMC School of Architecture in Athens-Greece in close collaboration with the University of East London. completed her postgraduate studies at the University of East London in 2004, with focus on social sustainability in architecture and urban design and has practiced architecture in various large-scale offices.
Umeå School of Architecture www.arch.umu.se/en