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Integral lens: an integral approach to the study and representation of the built environment through the photographic medium. 


By Pygmalion Karatzas

June 10, 2015.


Proposed project for the 2015-2016 Fulbright Artist Scholarship Award.


1. Visit and photograph alternative/holistic cases of community developments and ecovillages. The photographic result will be of the photojournalistic genre. 

2. Meet and observe architects and their work, architectural photographers, and media leaders, to document the way architectural photography is being produced, presented, influenced and influencing. The photographic result will be within the editorial genre. 

3. Study and add artistic and contemplative approaches to photography about the built environment and the ‘man-altered landscape’. The photographic result will be of the fine art genre. In the theoretical level will apply Ken Wilber’s integral approach. Emphasis will also be given to photographic workshops. 

4. Experiment on the innovative applications of drone photography and photogrammetry and how these new technologies apply to architectural documentation and representation. 


Relation to current work: The integral theory has been studied for architecture, sustainability and art and with this project it can be put to practice by applying it to the framing of the project itself and meeting people and cases who can fill in the pieces and enrich the content. The ecovillage design education can meet the alternative community developments. The photo editor position has established a connection with fellow photographers which can be expanded and deepened. My own editorial photography can include the contemporary architecture in the US and my fine art photography can further research and contemplate on the relationships between photography and the built environment.


The crisis in Greece had and continues to have a major negative impact on all professions around the construction industry, a devaluation of our built environment assets, a new emerging role for grassroots communities and sustainable living, and a realization of the overal global interconnectedness.

Architecture creates cultural and economic assets for people and society at large, and a decreased growth can be confronted by a re-evalution of the existing wealth, as well as a more critical look that can at the same time be aspirational. 


Grassroots communities bring a rich set of skillful means on issues like conflict resolution, participatory education, socially engaged spirituality, life coaching and empowerment, ecological technologies, social enterprises, permaculture, celebrating life through art, among others. By presenting these endeavours we create a kinship traversing national/traditional boundaries.


All artistic movements in history have developed hand in hand with the pioneering theories of their time. An integral approach to our current needs and problems is one of the most inclusive and positive methodologies at our disposal. By studying the integral movement in the US where it originated and puting it into practice, we can pave the way for other fields to follow, and by doing so establishing a common language while respecting multiple perspectives and diversity. 


I am honored that the University of Tennesse, Knoxville and prof. Mark DeKay at the College of Architecture and Design will be sponsoring this project.


Submitted portfolio:


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Fulbright Fundation Greece:

College of Architecture and Design, University of Tennesse Knoxville:

The framework of integral methodology as postulated by philosopher Ken Wilber and the Integral institute, adapted for the context of architectural photography. The four quadrants take into consideration the interior and exterior aspects of both the individual and the collective perspectives of an investigated phenomenon, in order to provide a comprehensive study that respects all available dimensions in a non-reductionist manner.

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