Sophia Vyzoviti | Jury Statement _ Pandemic Architecture International Ideas Competition

Pandemic Architecture Competition attempts to open up a dialogue and create a think tank, looking for ideas from the architectural and design community about the future of the living, the workspace, the public space and the tourism industry. 


Why do you support this competition? 

The total mentions of #Coronavirus in the media are estimated at 2.1 billion, exceeding by far mentions to HIV, SARS and Ebola. Undoubtedly COVID-19 is the most communicated pandemic in human history. Architecture’s response to social change is relatively slow. This competition provides an opportunity to improve the agility of our disciplinarian reflexes. 

Why do you believe this is the correct timing for a such competition to take place?

Architecture theory has been preparing us for dystopia. Would we enjoy Mike Davis’s Ecology of Fear if we read it again during quarantine?  What about the 70’s environmental determinism studies on proxemics and personal bubbles?

The present situation calls for a critical rethinking of past knowledge, seizing the opportunity to discuss, albeit once again crisis on planetary scale enhanced with a new more empathetic turn to humanism.


What are you experiencing in your country due to covid-19?

In absolute numbers confirmed cases of coronavirus infections and deaths in Greece are relatively low. Nevertheless the fraction of total cases per million of population is higher than its ranking, higher than China today. Greek government has been extremely precautious in taking the maximum protective measures for flattening the curve as early as possible. Public assemblies were cancelled from the first week of March. Education immediately switched to distant learning. Physical distancing was applied in all commercial facilities. General quarantine has been enforced since March 22nd

What are you expecting from the participants? 

I am looking forward to reviewing submissions that interpret the social and spatial dimensions of a pandemic reality: large scale visionary speculations for remedial strategies, small scale designs for sanitation objects and garments, and also proposals that promote the reverse engineering of existing structures through innovative reconfigurations as well new practices that a reflection of the reality generates.


“Pandemic Architecture International Ideas Competition provides an opportunity to improve the agility of our disciplinarian reflexes.”


What is your opinion regarding the pandemic reality we are experiencing? 

Ambiances of fear are redefining the landscape of our ordinary lives. Most of us may be well accustomed to remote working from home, yet totally unprepared for a general lockdown, for the sealing of borders, for travel cessation. I feel overwhelmed by my confinement into an endless domestic realm, transformed into a worldwide flatland of non-stop incoming information. I already feel nostalgia for the anonymous crowds that define urbanity, for physical proximity. Amidst this ironic reversal of inside and outside, of public and private I composed the personal bubble park (attached images) a new protocol for contactless social interaction in public space. 

Is there anything you would like to point out regarding the criteria of the competition? 

The socio-economic and biopolitical context of the projects should be clearly outspoken. Not all of us have the luxury of working from home; industrial workers keep working in factories throughout the contamination peak. If we consider all the refugees staying in camps today throughout mainland Greece and the islands, we realize that quarantine as a modus vivendi has been our next-door neighbor for quite a while now. 

About Sophia Vyzoviti

Architect, researcher and educator. Associate Professor in Architectural Design at the Department of Architecture, University of Thessaly.

Author of books ‘μικροκατοικια’ (2017) ‘soft shells’ (2011) ‘supersurfaces’ (2006) and ‘folding architecture’ (2003)

In her practice, Sophia sustains a research by design approach. In addition to architecture and urban design projects she produces architectural prototypes and temporary installations. Her goal is to enhance collective creativity within a critical spatial practice.


Pandemic Architecture is an International Ideas Competition curated by the Design Ambassador for

Extraordinary times” require extraordinary design.
What Can Architecture Do for our Health?

As the world faces new globalized health threats, there is a need to design the home/ the city of tomorrow, living in times whereas pandemics and viruses will be part of our everyday life. 

By designing for the needs of a pandemic reality, architects act as guarantors and guardians of the Public Health of a community.  
Virus outbreaks have their impact on urban space as well as on the living of millions of people.

When millions of people are isolated and working from home, what features should a home have?
When people can’t travel, what is the role of the hotels?
When crowds are not allowed at public spaces, how cities and public spaces change?
In terms of health centres and interior design, what are the hygienic architectural details of the pandemic reality? 

Find more here!