Pandemic Architecture, an International Ideas Competition curated by the Design Ambassador for,  invited the creative community 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 after the outbreak of Covid-19.

Magritte ex Machina, was shortlisted in top 50 out of 440 projects.

-text by the authors

The pandemic made people withdraw, live alone, keep distances from one another. Life and death became public and transparent. The New York Times remembered 100.000 dead on its front page. People falling from the sky. The cycle of the disease left its mark on urban landscapes. It changed the social grid. In Milan’s Duomo, Bocceli’s voice reverberated the state of things, it gave form to a world made of singular collectivities. Together and apart we must go on. 

The pandemic’s images lead to work of Belgian surrealist painter Rene Magritte. Having survived his mother’s suicide, he pushed open the door to the great after. Not only were his men falling from the sky – they were kissing each other wrapped up in cloth, they were sheltered in enclosures made of curtains and stuff of dreams. 

Magritte’s surrealism fits today’s realities, unfolding a program for house and city. The outbreak  of the covid disease lead to major loss; ,any ascended to the heavens and others returned cured into a more fragile coexistence with the others.

We cannot kiss like we did before; society now must conform to new metrics. The pandemic redefines social fabric, proximity and democracy. Home life will now be wrapped by sheer intelligence. We now inhabit a space engulfed in representation and image, memory and simulacra. Daily life is reduced to vital encounters and bare realities. We now must live within our true needs and aspirations. 

The pandemic is here to ask us of we are ready to give up our cultures and our narratives. Furthermore, it is here to challenge us to replace our values with new, more important ones. Faced directly with thw cycle of life and death – is this the time to imagine a better world?

Coming home to a lightweight enclosure which runs on intelligence, the material world – as we knew it – subsides. What is there to keep us living happily?

Love, Death, Disease, Cure, Hope, Intimacy, Distance, Society and Home are our archaic concepts to regenerate and expand. Stay home and stay connected. Know thyself and know the Other. Do not begrudge your life. Live within the vast potential of what lays ahead.

This pandemic was there when Rene Magritte carefully looked into the human condition. Our cities, our hospitals, our public spaces, our monuments and landmarks offer the thread of continuity as we now take the next step into the great after

We can find new possibilities in our spaces and edifices – new ways to stay together and live together till death do us part.


Facts & Credits

Riva Lava 
                        Anna Konstantopoulou
                        Dimitrios Ntoupas

 Country:      Greece

The project was shortlisted in top 50 out of 440 projects.

The impact of Pandemic Architecture competition on the international architectural community was astonishing, with the number of registrations to exceed 800, with the final proposals to exceed 400 and with participants from more than 60 different countries.
Results were officially announced on the 25th of September.


Check out the open call and the jury here!