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Landscapes of Cohabitation by Doxiadis+, Antiparos Island, Greece

Emerging Architecture Awards 2010: Highly Commended

The Aegean island landscape of the past millennia is a man-made equilibrium; diverse, beautiful, but also extremely fragile, sustainable only as long as the economic and cultural practices that formed it continued to operate. Historically, it was shaped by an economy of agriculture and pasturage, but between the 1920s and 1980s this disintegrated, to be supplanted by the new economy and demands of tourism.

To a large extent, the Aegean tourist economy is based on the perception of the immense natural beauty of the region’s ancient landscape. But ironically, tourism also introduced new man-made structures and processes that have contrived to destroy the historic elements that gave the landscape its original picturesque appeal. At the heart of this complex and subtle landscape scheme by young Greek practice Doxiadis+ is the notion of how to preserve the picturesque qualities of a hillside site, while changing its function from agricultural vestige to high-end holiday residential.

The site lies on the island of Antiparos and the project is an extrapolation of the island’s existing topography and landscape. Planting elements radiate out from a dense core (historically the densely cultivated fertile ground used for vegetable growing) to a sparser area on the upper slopes (usually given over to grazing). Within this landscaping system, natural and man-made elements are structured in a balanced and sustainable symbiosis.

Four different zones create a transition from more artificial Mediterranean gardening to fully dynamic native vegetation. Each zone is planted with a mixture of species, so that the landscape has a sense of evolution and change, anchored by a strong Aegean identity.

Landscape Architect Doxiadis+, Athens, Greece
Project team Thomas Doxiadis, Terpsi Kremali
Photographs Thomas Doxiadis, Clive Nichols, Cathy Cunliffe

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