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Ilias Papageorgiou

Onassis Foundation scholar (in the 2006-2008 period), Ilias Papageorgiou was chosen to represent Greece, along with 14 other architects, at the 14th Architecture Biennale in Venice which opened on 7 June and runs until 23 November 2014. The Greek entry entitled Tourism Landscapes: Remaking Greece curated by the University of Patra Architecture professor Giannis Aesopos, aided by professors Ilias Zengelis, Lois Papadopoulos and Giorgos Panetsos, focuses on tourism landscapes as a vehicle for modernising the country.

The proposal presented by the scholar, who is head of the SO-IL architectural practice, is entitled Veiled, and is sited on an Aegean island, presenting a new form of relationship between the built and natural environment. It is a ‘veil’, a transparent, flexible surface which sometimes follows the steep inclines of the landscape acting as a wall, and at other times stretches over dips in the ground creating a roof-like structure. Thanks to the use of light, topography and texture, the resulting space provides a heightened aesthetic experience of what the Aegean landscape is about.

The SO-IL architectural practice also recently announced that it was to start construction work on the new Jan Shrem and Maria Manetti Shrem Art Museum at Davis University in California (UCDavis). Lead architect on the project is Ilias Papageorgiou, who is also in charge of the practice. The Shrem Art Museum has been designed to create a heightened landscape experience, by combining educational and exhibition spaces, as well as event venues under a pierced metal roof covering 5,000 m2. The roof offers a wide range of different experiences, actions and spaces allowing people to meet and mingle indoors and outdoors in a variety of ways. The shaded space under the roof will be a new proactive venue where art can be produced for the University. The proposal treats the art museum of the future as an open, accessible venue for interaction, a space which is constantly evolving, and not as a static, closed ‘temple’ dedicated to art.

Ilias Papageorgiou said, “the design reflects the spirit of the agricultural landscape in California’s Central Valley, and also suggests a new model for the museum of the 21st century... An open landscape for exploring, learning and interdisciplinary cooperation. A space within which one can both see and create art”.

The SO-IL architectural practice based in New York is run by Florian Idenburg, Jing Liu and Ilias Papageorgiou. Their architectural work has brought them international recognition, winning them major prizes such as the MoMAPS1 Young Architects Programme, the AIA Young Practices Award and the Emerging Voices Award from the Architectural League, has also been showcased in the international press such as the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Fast Company, and Domus, and has been exhibited at the Guggenheim Museum, the New York Museum of Modern Art, the Los Angeles Forum for Architecture and Urbanism, Studio-X in Beijing and the Benaki Museum in Athens.