Diary of an Architecture Student Volunteer in Lesvos

When the opportunity of going to Lesvos to work as a volunteer came up I did not hesitate to take part. I got involved with the Lesvos Falafel Project (http://www.lesbosfalafel.com/ ) through Leopold from BUREAU A (http://www.a-bureau.com/), an Architecture firm I had been working with during September in Lisbon. Their approach is very refreshing and different from the excessive formality we experience here in England, thus I knew the Lesvos Falafel Project would be something thrilling and interesting to be part of. The lessons I learnt throughout the week I spent with the Falafel Crew and the NBK (No Border Kitchen) people – our allies – were life changing and covered a range of aspects from politics to architecture to cultural differences. This was a very humanizing and extraordinarily enriching experience.


Architecture had a big role to play in this situation. An experience like this helps you open your eyes to the power we have in our hands to change things and to help us define aims for our generation. We cannot sit in the studio all day keeping our eyes shut to the rest of the world, we need to put ourselves out there to have new experiences otherwise architecture is really pointless and rather repetitive. Existentialism is perfectly adapted to Architecture, and, in my opinion, Architecture turns out to be a catalyst for Existentialism. I had been wondering about the irrationality and amorality of this Universe as well as the significance of being human ever since I have read ‘The Stranger’ by Albert Camus, 4 years ago. Now it seems clear that although we live in it at least we, as individuals, made up realities that allow us to walk through life. Architecture plays a big role in this, it helps us advancing and not only teaches us about life itself it also teaches us about ourselves as individuals in a broader context.

Our group consisted of young empathetic energetic people with ages ranging from 20 to 70 years old from different areas of interest: Chiara Banchini, the sassiest violinist I have ever met, Leo Banchini, my good friend and visionary with a great love for picking on Portuguese dishes, Silvia Converso, the mother and centre of the group, Jeremy Schuh, our Chef and self-employed organic farmer, Jacopo Corsini, the meat lover with the coolest sense of humour, Louis Mejean and Pierre Cauderay (http://www.aazar.ch/accueil.html), our ‘shower and bath architects’ with a lot of energy and a very decent pair of muscles. We have extra team members that stayed in Lesvos for a month: Julie Melichar and Justine Boillat working in Partnership with other camps amongst which were Moria (UN Camp) and Skala (Lighthouse Camp). Rik, Lulu and our kind workshop Greek Man have done great contributions toward the project.

In order to incorporate all the experiences and important topics that connect to architecture I will be composing a series of ‘entries’ that can be published weekly. So keep an eye on the KSA Blog First Entry will come soon!

By Luisa Pereira Pires, Stage 3