Author : Maud Sanciaume

University : Architectural Association School of Architecture

Status : Diploma 5, 2013

Advisors : Cristina Díaz Moreno, Efrén García Grinda, Tyen Masten, John Ng

Title : The Caravan Palace | Common grounds in Mitrovica

“Spatial design has the capacity to bring change and open new horizon to society.”  Edward T. Hall

The project proposes the construction of Common Grounds – a series of infrastructures sprinkled along the city – in Mitrovica, post-apocalyptic village and icon of the 1999 Kosovo war. This war has been a massacre for all, destroying the economy, its public infrastructure and landmarks. Minorities such as the Roma have been put in camps or scattered all around Europe. Yet their culture and rituals, which are based on accumulation and re-appropriation, could be taken as an opportunity to rebuild common grounds in this broken heart country.

The caravan palace is a generous architecture as it is build by and for the people. It is mainly influenced by the Balkan spirits production, by Kosovo’s festive cultural background, and the steam industrial revolution. The caravan Palace is an alternative form of public space, localized in derelict places of Mitrovica, bridging cultural gaps between Albanians and Serbians.

Built of multiple distilleries, “boxing parliaments”, caravanserai, wedding, death and birth carnivals, this Gypsy-Drome is in constant evolution, opening and closing depending on the need of its dwellers.  The notion of static and dynamic becomes blurry and leaves us to a platform where nomadism coexists with sedentarity.

This project is an attempt to generate dialogue between individuals, to bring back a sense of community through public architecture, enabling a financial, political autonomy and an energy sufficiency in Mitrovica.

“Successful public spaces are spaces that serve the local communities. Spaces that are innovative, that have a capacity to grow and to absorb culture. They are key points to the regeneration of an urban fabric. Those public spaces are not anymore independent entities with clear delimitation in the urban fabrics. The frontiers between public and private as well as between the collective and the individual are disintegrating, creating an ambiguous and porous multi-functional system.”

This experimental drawing is playing a lot with the scale of the people, putting up front the importance of rituals and social group regarding the design of space.  Like would say amidceor9: “we often forget how individual behaviors and specifically public performances of conflict strengthen a group’s identity and enable the expression of a collective mind.”