Nicosia Green Line

MSc Studio



Marc Schoonderbeek



[…] In Nicosia (Cyprus), the division of the island has resulted in a border that is a direct representation of mentalities, and thus meaning, of the forced separation. The two border ‘systems’ reflect […] the specific take on the exact significance attributed to the border: while the Greeks are still in a conscious and deliberate state of denial regarding the division of the island, providing only for the minimalist and most temporary of structures to guard the border, the Turks have been making a physical statement about their intent to remain present on the island. The installment of a UN buffer zone between the two parties has created a very odd sequence of borders: the almost non-existent threshold from the Greek side, easily slipping into the UN Zone, which is strictly prohibited for any member of either side. This non-visible presence of the border is interrupted, and thus made visible, only at very strategic points in the city, where shabby army control points have been erected in the most improvised of ways. As the UN Zone has been in operation for more than 30 years, during which maintenance of the urban fabric has not been on the agenda, the result of this division is the emergence of a sort of ghost town, a collection of buildings and infrastructure slowly decaying and eroding, like a wonderful ode to the Zone of Stalker. On the Turkish side, the Turkish army has created a parallel zone that allows the military to traverse the border and impose complete control over it. The border has therefore shifted inward. The border is, in contrast to the Greek side, a hard divisional wall, creating cul-de-sacs in the city; streets simply end when ‘encountering’ the wall.

MSc studio BC, semester 02, 2003-05
Participants: Mariel Derks, Bobby de Graaf, Anne Hoekstra, Peter van der Knoop, Henkjan Letteboer, Pieter Sprangers, Wouter Stoer, Jasper Tonk.

Mentors: Oscar Rommens, Marc Schoonderbeek, Lars Courage, Elise van Dooren.

Nicosia Green Line