Greek architect Dimitris Pikionis designed the archaeological site in Philopappou Hill in Athens between 1954 and 1958. The general idea of the design was laid out by marking paths and selecting a series of points related to orientation and views. Arranged according to Pikionis’s intuition and with help from local craftsmen and his own students, Pikionis collected marble stones from demolished nineteenth-century buildings in Athens, collaged them alongside new stones, and added concrete pieces so as to create a system of pathways that organizes the area near the Acropolis. This patchwork of elements refers to the tradition of the Greek islands, composing a whole system that encompassed seats, gutters, and steps. The emerging palimpsest embodied a profound, timeless character that connected with the larger material and historical memory of the site.
American photographer Robert Adams documen- ted the changing landscapes of the Colorado Plateau in the second half of the twentieth century. His photographs offered a view of the American landscapes progressively losing their original identity lost to urban sprawl and human occupation. Adams chose not to photograph the natural beauty of these landscapes but to record with profound objectivity its radical transformation caused by aggressive human intervention. In the landscapes photographed by Adams the proliferation of new constructions take over the landscape, altering the original conditions of the ground. In depicting this transformation, Adams revealed a less evident problem: the loss of the material memory of the ground in the American landscape.
The notion of material memory refers to the capacity of physical environments to apprehend and archive different forms of memory. This condition is a particularly relevant dimension of the ground as it accrues layers of past memories that become integrated with new interventions. The ground performs as a critical palimpsest capable of recording, preserving, revealing, and concealing the memory of places – and ultimately their identities– through the experience of their material attributes over time. This call for papers seeks out
texts in English or Spanish that critically examine the physical, perceptual, social, political, and ethnographic implications of the material memory inherent to the physical ecology of the architectural ground and the loss of this material memory caused by manipulation.