Michail Xirokostas | Architect


Architects Xirokostas Michail, Barkonikou Maria, Papageorgiou Eleni
Supervisors Papaioannou Tassis, Tournikiotis Panayotis
Location Sotirianika, Messenia, Greece
Area 1700 m2 
Project Year 2017
Project Type Project

This project is the continuation of our research project and as a whole, intends to respond to contemporary issues, to the needs of our time. A key concern has been the phenomenon of decentralization, the return to the peripheria, which opens a debate on several matters, mainly on creating incentives to young people.

Our on-site research was focused on the region of Messenian Mani and, to be more specific, on two traditional complexes on the slopes of the Western Taygetus. The first complex consists of the settlements: Nedousa, Alagonia, Piges, Artemisia, Ladas. The second complex includes the settlements: Pigadia, Ano Verga, Altomira, Sotirianika and Eleochori. On the subjects of Primary Production – Culture – Tourism, specific parameters were set to investigate the above settlements and five guidelines of strategic intervention were proposed for the site, aiming to the revival of those semi-mountainous and semi-abandoned settlements. We strongly believe that a holistic approach, including the proper dissemination between the settlements, obtaining partial self-sufficiency to the residential complexes, could accomplish this purpose. New productive, cultural and social units could regenerate the settlements and provide incentives for internal communication.

We selected Sotirianika as our case study. Geomorphologically, the settlement is divided into three parts with two ravines crossing it. Such natural element conduced to the particularly interesting development of the structure of the settlement on the intense sloping ground in both directions.

The site’s elements are being converted to contemporary architecture.

Our proposal includes an oil-press factory, bottling facilities and workspace of oil by-products and other traditional products. In fact, these would substitute the existing facilities of the cooperative operating in Sotirianika. In addition, the proposal would include a multi-purpose space addressed to educational programs, workshops and local events, a giftshop, a café and guest houses accommodating visitors of the building complex as well as professional partners of the cooperative. The proposal aims to the reinforcement of locality and to create incentives. Employment incentives for the residents to return to the settlement and visiting incentives for the public, to the complete regeneration and revival of the settlement within the settlement complex network mentioned above. Therefore, productive and cultural interest would be the cornerstone of the revival of the village. The slope northeast to the village was selected as the intervention area, whose main characteristics are the unplastered stonewalls that create horizontal fields for cultivation and also the dense planting of olive trees and walnut trees.

Maintaining the continuous reciprocal relations between natural and man-made on this special landscape has been the greatest challenge for us, along with combining such heterogeneous proposed uses, separated into two main spatial and conceptual modules. Primary production and Culture – Tourism. Unifying elements between those two units are the Core and the Route that leaves its trace on the ground as a hand-drawn line. It is about a mosaic of experiences, whose main aim is the visitor to live the place through a reciprocal relationship between the object (SITE) and the subject (VISITOR).

Through the site, material and experience, the architecture is born and owes to contribute to the recreation of the society.