Mending Wall

Education - Students / Finalist

Following the war in 1974, the island of Cyprus was divided, politically between Greek and Turkish Cypriots, and phisically with numerous walls into two distinct impenetrable environments. In the center of this walled border is the capital, Nicosia, which was halved by the border. This border consists of two parallel rows of walls with a buffer zone in between. The buffer zone is constantly monitored and maintained by the UN peacekeepers. No one has taken the time to document the division, because documenting the wall was illegal.


This project documents the current existence of the urban edge and the border wall from its north side. Movement through to the south side, and it turn, research was impossible due to the political condition. Thus, the documentation of the city remains half complete.


It was thought that a city having such an edge, and residents living with the edge were precarious. However, the ongoing situation in Cyprus is still dividied, and the residents that are living in this unique condition. The research of this unique condition brought about questions concerning this life on the edge:


“If the destruction of the wall is not possible, how does one mantain this painful element and attempt to improve life along the edge simultaneously?”


When undertaking this questions, a new attitude emerged towards the border; to mantain the wall.


The study sets out to find the value of the border wall as an architectural element and to transform the space by documenting. The atlas includes the photos taken on-site and drawings that show the current appropriation of the border wall and the hidden buffer zone. The project ends with a drawing (Hope) of the first research finding on-site which shows the only topic both parties approve of.


While the two sides cannot agree on a map of Nicosia above-ground, the sewerage map of Nicosia is one that both parties approves of. Above ground, Nicosia is split by war and ethnic struggle but underneath the city is unified. The documentation is made in hopes that another maintenant will work on the South part, to create unified documentation of Nicosia.


Author: Ekin Baskentli



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