This graduation project is situated at Kythnos Island, which is located on the island simplex of Cyclades. Kythnos, or Thermia is a small island of 100,000 Km in length and of permanent population of only 1,310 people (according to census of 2011). It’s proximity to Athens though and its frilled coastline have turn the island into a rapidly up-coming touristic destination. Simultaneously, exactly due to this rise the young population of the island occupants itself around massive tourism activities. At the same time, a small group of young people found interest again on the traditional products of the island and targets to tourists as an enlarged consumer group. On the aforementioned described situation looms the following danger: Due to expanded massive tourism, the island could lose its unique character and become impersonal, as happened in the past with other island, as Mikonos or Paros. So, stimuli for this graduation project were this fear and also my desire to design an example of alternative tourism that would respect and refresh the island, preserving the financial benefits of tourism. For that reason, I choose to focus on the art of pottery; an art that people from Kythnos were well-known in the past in whole of Greece, but now unfortunately only one active potter is left, called George Georgoulis. Also, attention was given on the landscape itself and the organization of the different space demands for the pottery workshop and the quest houses.
The greatest challenge was to merge the history of the island with a wishing future. The user of the proposal will gaze at the open horizon and the endless open sea feeling free, with steady connection to the earth and spiritual calmness. This is the feeling that someone has when visiting this place and this feeling I decided to turn into Architecture. For that reason the buildings were scattered on the dry and sunny field, preserving their archaistic form, build the local stone and soil. Dominate synthetic tool was the elements of Dry-stone wall (Kserolithia). The element that defines the land of Cyclades island simplex and still stands there to remind us the intensive human labor that was needed for these walls to be build, in order to use the land for production. This element of Dry-stone wall will define the movement, the pause, the void and the solid of the synthesis.
More analytically, the chosen plot is located in the middle of the island, right outside Diopida (Xwrio), which consist one of the more important villages of the island, along with the capital Kithnos (Xwra). On this crossroad debris of old wind mills can be found to remind once more of old forgotten production techniques of the island, the production of flour from thyme. Also, a small typical family church is there, Agia Katerini, which need to be integrated on the design as well. The intention for the tourist is to experience himself the vibe of the land and learn about pottery. Some will be able also to stay on the workshop area connecting their whole day with that designed area. An important dilemma of the synthesis was if the workshop and the production should revive the old and painful production method of the past, or adapt to the modern ways, like the use of electric oven instead of the Kamini (external oven). The solution was found in the middle. Old spaces needed on the past where rebuild like reminders of the past. They were there to remind the modern people, but are not meant to be used anymore in the daily production, only for special occasions. The real production will be done with modern technical equipment integrated on the design.
Last but not least, apart from production and financial independence, the project wishes to satisfy also energy self-sufficiency. Modern energy production tools are collected and redefined in a new Architectural vocabulary. Via sustainable and energy efficient design this proposal attempts become an answer on the modern demand for Sustainability. The wind-turbine is placed on the entrance of the complex to signify the entrance to the new sustainable era and the complex. The wind-turbine will take advantage of the strong winds of the island and the integrated photovoltaic panels of the strong Mediterranean sun. Additionally the water demand is divided into drinkable and not. In such way, rain water can be used for the showers and other similar purposes, without wasting drinkable water. Even if the proposal integrated sustainable and energy efficiency elements, it is not an example of energy zero design, but re-uses a way of thinking and acting that was used in the past but was lost on the way and now comes back to us in modern terms. The use of wind, sun and rain-water could cover the energy demands of such building in order to take it off grid, but such design would not be accepted from the local community, since this demands a different mentality from the existing one. None the less, this step back was taken in order to ensure its implementation.