The Greek National Tourism Organization (GNTO) launched the XENIA program after its formation in 1950. It was the first attempt of the Greek State to create infrastructure for the development of tourism. The present Diploma Thesis is a discussion about the importance of XENIA for the Modern Greek Architecture and a commentary on their current, often deserted condition.
Our main goal is to create experience, through the atmosphere created by the old photos of XENIA.
In other words, we try to transform the two-dimensional elements of the photographs, which create the typical atmosphere of Xenia, into three-dimensional spaces.
In addition, for the analysis that follows, we chose specific XENIA, as the most representative buildings, but also as group of buildings that were designed and completed under the supervision of the architect Aris Konstantinidis.
In the first phase of image processing, we tried to identify the point of view, the lines and the volumes that highlight both the perspective and geometry of each photo, and make an iconographic analysis.
Both postcards, as well as the black and white photos and their perspective, intelligently convert the two-dimensional space into three-dimensional space and present the point views, the boundaries, the control point of the photos, simultaneously with illusions and delusions, elements that we wanted to enhance through the analysis.
Essentially, image becomes our main tool. The whole analysis is a different kind of chromatography of the atmosphere of Xenia, through their photos, by coloring the elements that we want to highlight each time, and removing, in this way, their complexity. This was followed by the arrangement of the elements at equal distances, and the development of the surfaces, in such a way as to create volumes and to give depth to the two-dimensional image. The analysis was made not for the purpose of the restoration of XENIA, but for its transcription. In addition, we tried to explore new ways and perspectives of how can someone see and interpret, the legacies of the past in the context of the modern culture.
The models – volumes that arise from the analysis, led to a dialogue about the alternations, the properties and the value of XENIA.
Therefore, having the photograph and the new volumes that emerged as a tool, we chose to focus and place some interventions at the XENIA Hotel of Paliouri, in Chalkidiki, Greece. The buildings that exist in the XENIA complex operated as a palimpsest, which is used as a basis for the creation of newer works, but without being overlapped by the new constructions.
Thus, with the interventions, we attempt to emphasize the building itself, and lead each visitor to see with a different sight the already existing building. The structures we propose intent to function as reference points, which will help visitors to obtain a better sense of orientation and to navigate easily throughout space, to enhance the sense of space and buildings that exist in it.
The placement of the constructions in the area of XENIA was based on the creation of a dialogue between the old and the new, the existing and the imaginary. Therefore, we decided to place the small-scale volumes that emerged from the analysis, outside, inside, above or below the existing building, simultaneously with the logic of re-creating and enhancing the atmosphere of XENIA, but also emphasizing the geometry of the structures. In other words, it is a narrative of their history, and an elevation of the building itself as a monument. A filling of the empty space, with the space itself.
While observing the forms, one can distinguish the images within the volumes, from specific viewpoints and re-read the photos of XENIA with different terms.
In conclusion, the present Diploma Thesis led us to create spaces and volumes, which would be impossible to create in some other way, since they do not comprehensively follow the terms of the functionality and comfort in a space, but arise through a specific analysis. It is the idea of collaboration and exploration. Architecture as a practice is not only about defining spatial and material relationships between objects, people, buildings. It is about how these relationships appear over time, in conflicts of different intentions and benefits, ideologies, situations, and perspectives.
Image References: / Aris Konstantinides, 198, Projects + buildings, Athens, Agras.