The paper will focus on the strategic development deriving from the evolution of the traditional courtyard spatial organization towards a new, contemporary sustainable way of living. New sustainable approaches that engulf the social issues, the notion of place, the understanding of weather architecture blended together with the bioclimatic behavior will be seen through a series of experimental case studies in the island of Cyprus, inspired and originated from its traditional wisdom, ranging from small scale of living to urban interventions. Weather and nature will be seen as co-architectural authors with architects. Furthermore, the building will be seen not as an object but rather as a vessel of human activities. This will further enhance the notion of merging the material and immaterial, the built and unbuilt, subject-human, and the object-building. This eventually will enable to generate the discussion of the understanding of the building in relation to the place and its inhabitants, where the human topography is more important than the material topography. The specificities of the divided island and the dealing with sites that are in vicinity with the diving Green Line will further trigger explorations dealing with the regeneration issues and the social sustainability offering unprecedented opportunities for innovative sustainable ways of living. Opening up a discourse with premises of weather-nature, materialimmaterial, human-material topographies in relation to the contested sites of the borders will lead us to develop innovative strategies for a profound, both technical and social sustainability, which fruitfully yields to innovative living built environments, responding to the ever changing environmental and social needs. As a starting point, a case study in Kaimakli in Nicosia, a refurbishment with an extension of a traditional house, already engulfs all the traditional/ vernacular wisdom of the bioclimatic architecture. The project focusses on the direct and quite obvious bioclimatic features such as south orientation and cross ventilation. Furthermore, it tries to reinvent the adaptation of these parameters in order to turn the whole house to a contemporary living environment. In order to succeed this, evolutions of traditional architectural elements and spatial conditions are integrated in a way that does not only respond to some certain weather conditions, but they integrate and blend the weather within the built environment. A series of innovations aiming at maximum flexibility is proposed. The house can finally be transformed into a winter enclosure, while for the most part of the year it turns into a ‘camping’ living environment. Parallel to experimental interventions in existing traditional units, we will proceed examining the implementation of the same developed methodology in designing living units and complexes. Malleable courtyard organizations that attempt to blend the traditional wisdom with the contemporary needs for living, the weather and nature with the built environment will be seen tested in both horizontal and vertical developments. Social activities are seen as directly affected and forged by the weather conditions thus generating a new social identity of people where people are directly involved and interacting with the weather. The human actions and interaction with the built, material environment in order to respond to weather will be seen as the result of balancing the social with the technological sustainability, the immaterial, and the material aspects of the living environment.
The paper will focus on the hybrid living typologies which are brought about due to the Global Crisis. Mixing of the generations and the groups of people, mingling the functions of living with working and socializing, merging the act of living in synergy with the urban realm and its constituent elements will be the springboard of proposing an essential sustainable housing approach and the respective urban development. The thematic will be based on methodologies developed both on the academic, educational environment including participation of students’ research and on the practical aspect of architecture including case studies executed by the author in the island of Cyprus. Both paths of the research will deal with the explorative understanding of the hybrid ways of living, testing the limits of its autonomy. The evolution of the living typologies into substantial hybrid entities, will deal with the understanding of new ways of living which include among others: re-introduction of natural phenomena, accommodation of the activity of work and services in the living realm, interchange of public and private, injections of communal events into the individual living territories. The issues and the binary questions raised by what is natural and artificial, what is private and what public, what is ephemeral and what permanent and all the in-between conditions are eloquently traced in the everyday life in the island. Additionally, given the situation of Cyprus with the eminent scar of the dividing ‘Green line’ and the waiting of the ‘ghost city’ of Famagusta to be resurrected, the conventional way of understanding the limits and the definitions of the properties is irreversibly shaken. The situation is further aggravated by the unprecedented phenomenon of the crisis on the island. All these observations set the premises of reexamining the urban development and the respective sustainable housing in a synergy where their characteristics start exchanging positions, merge into each other, contemporarily emerge and vanish, changing from permanent to ephemeral. This fluidity of conditions will attempt to render a future of the built- and unbuilt realm where the main focusing point will be redirected to the human and the social. Weather and social ritual scenographies together with ‘spontaneous urban landscapes’ of ‘momentary relationships’ will suggest a recipe for emerging urban environments and sustainable living. Thus, the paper will aim at opening a discourse on the future of the sustainable living merged in a sustainable urban development in relation to the imminent solution of the division of island, where the issue of property became the main obstacle to be overcome. At the same time, it will attempt to link this approach to the global need for a sustainable evolution of the urban and living realms.