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SKETCHBOOK #2 THE GREEK ISLANDS

BY ELIAS MESSINAS

Excerpts from travel sketchbooks in Greece by architect Elias Messinas

© All rights reserved


Santorini 15/8 Fira Sketching as we are enjoying a magnificent sunset! When you walk the town you realize how small the town is… When you look at it from afar, it looks like a big town, but when you actually walk through its narrow streets you realize that the buildings are smaller than what you thought. The town is smaller…

Santorini 15/8 Oia 16/8 Fira Beautiful The sunset at relationships… Fira is like a magnificent symphony of colors and forms… Very sculptural… The whole town descends the steep topography of the island, forming houses, terraces, stairs, balconies, roofs, walls and courtyards… a brilliant creative moment of Architecture, in the hands of the indigenous builder. Siting at the coffee shop drawing, the waiter liked the sketch and asked me to make a quick portrait of his to send to his girlfriend… He liked it so he brought us two Greek coffees (‘Elliniko kafe’) for free! Copyright: Elias V. Messinas Architect


Folegandros 31/8 Chora In Chora some churches have doors and windows with elaborately carved marble frames and jambs; do they belong to older churches, or where they made for these buildings? They are very picturesque and pretty. I drew in detail the doorway to the church of Agia Aikaterini (Sta. Catherine);

Christian and decorative symbols all mixed in the same surface. To build a wall is easy. To make an opening in the wall is where architecture begins; skill and culture join together to express the ability of the builder to create an opening in a load bearing wall. What a triumph! Copyright: Elias V. Messinas Architect


Folegegandros 1/9 Karavostasi Touring Folegandros one realizes how dry the land of the Cyclades islands is. Rocks and dry earth and the horizon in the distance. The contrast between the dryness and solidity of the land versus the softly moving waves of the sea is mind blowing. Such contrast yet, they blend together; the former cannot exist without the latter; a perfect match! Folegandros 31/8 Abeli

Copyright: Elias V. Messinas Architect


Folegegandros 1/9 Chora All the churches, the numerous churches of the island, are very similar: a room with vaulted ceiling... outside the bell-tower and an external form that reflects the interior.

All plastered, like one body, as if born like that. Without a sense of material, without joints... all one body, all one material. Copyright: Elias V. Messinas Architect


Aegina 5/2 Looking through my old sketchbooks 23 years later, I discovered this winter sketch from Aegina… It was a short but very rich visit: first I went to the archaeological museum, where I saw, among others the remains of the mosaic floor of the Byzantine synagogue - a geometric mosaic Then stopped at the port for brunch, to Pireaus. At the port I could see the St. Nikolas and the lighthouse. Along the century neoclassical houses… A great treat Athens… Almost forgot, on the way, along museum of Christos Kapralos and the bronze statue of his mother. On the same road is the home of Nikos Kazantzakis…

of the 4th century CE. before taking the boat double dome church of promenade the 19th a short boat ride from Kazatzakis road, is the

Copyright: Elias V. Messinas Architect


Aegina 22/8 Plakakia A refreshing quiet swim at the lighthouse of Bouzas – named after the nickname of the man who lit up the torch for years (‘bouzi’ means ‘cold’) – and next to the lighthouse the church of Holy Apostles (in Greek ‘Agioi Apostoloi’) – St. Paul and St. Peter. The Moni island in the horizon the skyline of the Peloponese. Here we spend the summer with family and friends… The lighthouse and the church are so beautiful that I kept sketching them again and again… Copyright: Elias V. Messinas Architect


TRAVEL SKETCHBOOKS By ELIAS V. MESSINAS, ARCHITECT Greek-born practicing architect with a focus on sustainable design, graduate of Yale School of Architecture, Bezalel Academy and National Technical University of Athens. Author of books, catalogues, and numerous articles. Recipient of research and publication grants from Graham Foundation, WMF and the Getty Grant Program. Founding chairman of international NGO ECOWEEK. Elias’ sketchbooks are being written and sketched since the late 1980s and include sketches, drawings and notes from his travels in cities in Europe, the Middle East and North America. Elias’ sketchbooks have been exhibited at the Yale Art & Architecture (USA, 1990), the Athens College Theater (Greece, 1995), the Jerusalem Theater (Israel, 2002), and the Israel Museum exhibition ‘Journeys’ (2014-2015).

© All rights reserved


Travel Sketchbook #2 : Greek Islands  

By Elias Messinas Architect

Travel Sketchbook #2 : Greek Islands  

By Elias Messinas Architect

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