The Lonely Quarter: Reviving Varosha’s Sealed Ghost City
Winner of The West Yorkshire Society of Architects Prize 2021
No place on earth has experienced ‘apart yet together’ in quite the same way as Varosha, Cyprus, where a quarter exists under Turkish control, on the Greek island. The Cypriots who called it home, forced into spontaneous mass exodus under the threat of massacre in 1973. The luxurious tourism industry of the city, shattered. The trees which once vitalised the Varosha orange festival, a vibrant cultural tradition indigenous to the area, are felled and burnt sporadically in the conflict.
Fast forward to 2020, and political stalemates concerning who has rightful ownership of Varosha, resulting in 47 years of its strict closure. Active groups of Turkish and Greek Cypriots join together at the fringes of the city, and do what their leaders refuse to, joining hands and creating symbolic floats of the forgotten orange festival.
Throughout this module, I study examples of isolation and connection at individual, communal and cultural scales, The spatial conditions and migratory patterns and attempt to dismantle barrier to revive Varosha.
By using the existing ruinous structures, the skeletons and the debris of Varosha, and combining the pragmatism and spirit of the people who once dwelled there, can an intervention be made that can revive the orange festival? To bring art, culture, health, community and spirit back to the area.