Microcommunity-primary cell of the Mega(Meta)city by Aleksandra Shekutkovska

Walking around Chinatown I was always perceiving the street fronts as not-permeable, neon sign decorated shields of family businesses, gold shops, food corners and tasty deserts. Nevertheless, the backdrop of these shields embraces behind itself the reminiscence of the organic city, labyrinths that seem “without purpose”, micro open spaces, entrances to homes, shrines, temples, markets..

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Dada miniature by Aleksandra Shekutkovska

Once again this year I have combined my lecture on Cluster and Co-housing spaces with an assignment incorporating the miniature-poetic picture and the dada chance operations. Quick thinking response assignments have formed the basis for the postcards which serve as a cut-up technique to begin the spatial poetry. After the lecture, once there was enough saturation on thoughts, discussions, confusion and initial hunch on shared space in different contexts and formats, the students were asked to get acquainted with the postcard miniature.

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Silent deconstruction by Aleksandra Shekutkovska

Chaos wraps around the construction site, old people are using the walls of the construction space to support themselves in walking, the corridors of the construction site are full of people selling their products, people dream about the progress the station will bring in their businesses, some fear eviction, some hope for profit, silently in the background processes of deconstructing take place. Spatially, historically and culturally rich communities are being bargained for the promise of progress, individual profit and the new globalized architecture of the shopping mall/condominium offering the unified identity.

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Shophouse by Aleksandra Shekutkovska

When I decided to move in Bangkok I was perpetually under the impression that I am walking in Edward Ruscha’s Every building on the sunset strip. I felt strips of buildings stamped into my memory somewhere between the impressions of their poor conditions, undecided destiny and urbantropology. Bangkok urban tissue construct is fabricated in greatest number by 4 storey shop houses built during the 1960’s serving as an economic resolution for housing demands in the dawn of urbanization. City expansions, new aspirations and development have left numerous shop houses into sceneries of ghost flâneur caves, leaving no traces of what was once the urbanization zeitgeist. Abandoned and poorly maintained some of them are located in attractive areas such as transportation stops of the MRT (metro line) and BTS (sky train) waiting uncertainly for their fortune telling- if they will be rented, live to see their own space requalification or be just another developer’s desert.

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Cinematique by Aleksandra Shekutkovska

Fairly romanticized vintage cinema spaces in the city have been torn down by both the modernization of our personal lifestyles and rapid urbanization processes resulting with gentrification. Perceiving the difference in approach towards historical places in the cities in Europe and Asia, it has been a while now I have been asking myself the question and teaching the importance of preserving interfaces of different historical periods from the city’s incremental growth. Once the muscles have become weak it seems too often that everyone is keen to replace the skeleton with a new building-body. Perhaps it is always the right time for reconsidering the historical places and what they mean in constructing the identity of the city as a potential to experience the timeline carrying of a territory while in the same time acknowledging processes of reuse and requalification.

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Dérive, Urbanophilia and the Phantasmagoric land by Aleksandra Shekutkovska

As soon as I bought the metro ticket taking me to explore the large scale entertainment complexes (MRT Huai Kwang, Sutthisan) I was aware it has happened. Perpetual condition of urbanophilia resulting with streams of consciousness in the city itself. Travelling inside the tube in reach for a piece of the Phantasmagoric land I was remembering the lecture I gave last week on Urban context analysis and deciding to include the dérive by the Situationists to refer to the ambiances in the city.

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Tamed kapi by Aleksandra Shekutkovska

It has been a long time now that I have been meaning to cross the door to the internal alleys. Last week my kind students took me on a journey to the tamed komshi kapigik.

*kapigik-small door on the fence between two houses (Turkish: kapi) giving the possibility for neighbors to meet and communicate.

Every block in Chinatown embraces within its heart an invisible network of private alleys. Similarly to something made from substance translucent, most of the people come and go without ever finding out that they have existed. Their formation isn’t questionable; individual and row houses fill up the inside with much density.

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Newspaper by Aleksandra Shekutkovska

There is definitely a nostalgic and retro scent scattered among the streets of Chinatown.

My grandmother always leaves newspaper articles on the stairs of our family house. She begins each day with the latest newspaper, reading, swallowing almost every word, folding the paper until it is all deconstructed. After the ritual with the help of her hands she cuts the articles that captured her attention and leaves it on the stairway according to the preferences of each family member. It has become like a small exhibition, displaying newspaper articles from time to time to some idea she has recognized within that ocean of letters.

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Chinatown by Aleksandra Shekutkovska

One can literally get lost here inside the spontaneous architecture maze. The insider alleys are leading you to what the bare skin of the city is, its true forces, failures and perhaps not-place-for-all. Compounds of superimposed paths, markets, extensions, physical shelters and stairs create a large scale abdomen of informalised urban fabric. From time to time the abdomen is penetrated by openings, allowing light and air to reach the ground and remind us once again to indulge into appreciation.

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