BRIDGES

Five delegations, Italian, Jordanian, Lebanese, Egyptian and Greek, eight days of workshops and conferences, in Greece, the cradle of architecture. Two areas, the old highway bridge over the Corinth Canal and the ancient source of Loutra Oreas Elenis, dozens of professionals including professors, tutors and artists from all over the Mediterranean basin. This is the program of the fifth edition of the International Festival of Architecture, whose first loyal member is the Integrated Urban Design Course of our Department. This year it was our turn. We meet early in the day, ready for the journey. Three hours on the bus, two hours at the airport, one eye closed and one open, then the flight. They say that being able to observe cities from above is a gift reserved for birds and architects. Well ... yes! I think it is a great fortune! An incredible spectacle that attacks even the most sleepy of passengers at the window. We land and immediately we have the first impact with the tongue: "He said right!" "No, I got it on the left!" (it was just the beginning of a series of funny cartoons like that). Two hours by train from Athens to Corinth, one thought: Greece is beautiful! Its landscape, so natural and unspoiled, the vividness and intensity of its colors, nature, the sea and the sky have a truly green green, blue truly blue and white so pure and delicate. As soon as we arrive, the hotel manager shows us a "little place" on the main road where we can have lunch (which will then become our base!) And immediately after we walk towards a large square overlooking the sea. This square perfectly reflects the collective space as we are. you usually imagine it but at the same time it aroused in me that sense of intimacy, the same sense that allows you to be among other people freely expressing your thoughts. Sun, heat, the high mountains on that blue sea: all the tiredness of the trip vanishes in a few minutes and good humor spreads on our faces. With an intrigued and even a little shy air, we introduce ourselves to the other delegations (typical situation in which after ten minutes you don't even remember a name!) and we begin to set up the opening exhibition. We are still complete strangers, yet as soon as we take out the models to be completed, all the kids from other countries come among us to help us. ttimo is like having your usual group mates next to you, ready to ask you what they can do and to point out small smudges. Very beautifull!

At the end of the exhibition we said to ourselves: "See you at four with the PCs!" for the beginning of the workshop. I had already had an idea about this week, also thanks to the stories of my friends, who told me: "You'll have a lot of fun, it's a bit like going on vacation" and inside me I thought "Yes ok, but we are there to work, how can it be like this? ”. Then I understood. I understand that you forget everything: lightning deliveries, dismantling - project revisions, computers that freeze, time is running out, the continuous nights ended in the hotel lobby, the same hotel theater of numerous scraps stolen from a "basket" (for sleep) and the other. You remember nothing of all this, because it is largely replaced by a wealth of incredible sensations and experiences that enrich you a lot and that each of us takes away with him. Last morning, time to pack. I've never felt this way. Usually in the last days of all my travels, even the most beautiful of all, I'm always happy to go home. Not this time. Here I picked up my pace. I became fully attuned to this lifestyle and a week felt like almost a month, as if I had transferred my daily habits here, readjusting. So, I reluctantly begin to put away the clothes, and between a gift and the other I carry with me the first days of the workshop, awkward and fun, the visit to that breathtaking Canal (which I knew by heart after all the walks made with Street View !), the Greek music that accompanied us everywhere, the curious eyes of the locals, the children who danced the sirtaki all together, hand in hand, for a school play. The Greek salad with its three kilos of onion that we promptly removed! The sun, the crystal clear sea (practically seen with binoculars!). English, which after a few days seemed to be injected into our veins, so much so that at times we forgot the terms in Italian and which we now also used among ourselves. I carry the flashmob with me on the deck, with a sparkling atmosphere, almost Woodstock-like: human chains, written with bodies, dances, songs, choirs in all languages, and smiles printed on everyone's faces, adults and students. The feeling of doing something unconventional, one of those that when grown up you tell your grandchildren. The evening in that beautiful beach club, where I really felt the mixing of our traditions. Each of us could be a DJ and we started playing the music that we usually dance in our countries of origin, so Italians and Lithuanians danced the sirtaki, Greeks and Jordanians jumped to the rhythm of macarena and Egyptians who in the midst of everyone swayed to Arab music belly dance accompanied by our affectionate "drum". Here, this is what I will remember most: a continuous exchange of cultures, ideas, habits, words, idioms, experiences, desires, smiles. The bridge, built with our arms, our minds and our hearts, with the birth of new intercontinental friends that do not seem to want to break. The evening before leaving we went to celebrate in a club and when it was time to go away I looked at the others, we immediately understood: "I don't like goodbyes!" they said. With eyes full of emotion, mutual respect and a veil of melancholy, we begin to say goodbye. “Ok guys listen” says a voice from the choir, “See you tomorrow morning at the theater at nine ok? Don't be late otherwise I won't come to work! Don't be late! ”. By playing down and taking a few photos to block that moment, after forty minutes we arrive at the final farewell. Yet it's just a goodbye.

...

Chiara Di Sabatino

the journey through images >>

View from the river of the bridge of the old Corinth highway © Chiara Di Sabatino

Flash mob IFAS 2016 on the bridge of the old highway © Chiara Di Sabatino

Flash mob IFAS 2016 on the bridge of the old highway © Chiara Di Sabatino

Flash mob IFAS 2016 on the bridge of the old highway © Chiara Di Sabatino

Flash mob IFAS 2016 on the bridge of the old highway © Chiara Di Sabatino

Flash mob IFAS 2016 on the bridge of the old highway © Chiara Di Sabatino

Flash mob IFAS 2016 on the bridge of the old highway © Chiara Di Sabatino

Flash mob IFAS 2016 on the bridge of the old highway © Chiara Di Sabatino