Panagiota Mamalaki

Panagiota Mamalaki

Practice: Anamorphosis Architects
Established: 1992
City: Athens
Country: Greece
[email protected]

Panagiota Mamalaki. Piraeus, Greece 1958. Architect, National Technical University of Athens 1983. MSc in History of Modern Architecture, Bartlett School of Architecture and Planning, UCL, 1987. Her research focuses on the contextual and ideological structure of the modern movements in architecture and art in relation to architectural production (late 19th-early 20th century). She is a founding member of Anamorphosis Architects (with Nikos Georgiadis, Panagiota Mamalaki, Kostas Kakoyiannis and Vaios Zitonoulis).
Independent research and experimental work by Anamorphosis have been published in Architectural Design (1994, 1996, 1998) and 10X10 (Phaidon 2000), and presented at the ICA in London (2000), at Greek, Turkish and other European and Mexican universities; the 8th Venice Architectural Biennale (2002); the 1st Rotterdam Biennale (2003); the 50th Venice Art Biennale (2003); the 'Snow Show' Cultural Event in Finland (2004) and the Art-Centre Basel 2006-09).

Anamorphosis Architects

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Museum of the Hellenic World, Athens (in progress)

The design concept concerns a museum of history - not original historical exhibits. The design principle is based on the spatio-psychoanalytic concept of lack (deeply routed in Greek culture) as a critique of the concepts of 'collection'/ 'acquisition'. Both as sense of loss of original pieces as well as creative spatial process, lack led to the formulation of a new museological approach integrating exhibition and building into one.

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How does diversity of people reveal itself at work? In our office we focus on the polyphony and creativity of people. Furthermore, we encourage younger and also foreign architects to propose, suggest and design new concepts for the projects, in an attempt to open the architectural questions to people without preconceptions and prejudice. From my experience I think that, although this process is time consuming, it provides fresh answers to old problems and creates a diverse and creative office environment, and of course better-designed projects.
Do you think our profession is diverse enough? No, I do not think so. It is often subservient to strategies of globalisation and the concomitant star system. Real problems are often concealed and distorted by the media, the politics and economics of development, which guide architects to segregation, individualism and life-style attitudes, rather than diversity and specific problem-solving.
Who are your role models who inspire you? The role model for me is the one focusing on collaboration and creativity, especially when it comes from real conditions of work and thinking. I am inspired very much be the Russian avant-garde women like Natalia Goncharova, Liubov Popova, Alexandra Exter and others who, working in collaboration with male artists, developed new role models focusing on the creation of new artistic and spatial concepts applicable to a wide variety of design issues.
If you could change one thing in our profession, what would it be? I would propose changes in the educational system and direct architecture towards more real, objective, scientific and less 'imaginative' projects. Also, I would organise institutions, competitions, exhibitions, workshops and so on, with the aim of helping young architects to realise their projects and ideas. I would promote local projects elaborated by location-minded architects and I would be very critical about the globalising star-architects system of our time.
What do you find most rewarding in your area of work? The most rewarding thing is realisation, and learning from the real. To be able to realise our concept and project with accuracy, without the intervention of people or situations outside architecture, such as media, development, fashion and so on. By focusing on the real one discovers new design parameters and new ways of problem solving (in terms of materials, construction methods, usage issues and so on).
How have your clients and projects benefited from your involvement? Our clients have significantly benefited from our involvement. That is because our projects are 'tailor-made'. We always consider seriously the specific parameters of each project and make the most out of them. We see projects as an opportunity to introduce innovations. In commercial or public projects we often resolve the whole range of design issues from small to large scale (including logos, advertising, graphic design, interior, and building).