island architecture

I don’t claim to be an expert in architecture. I just know what I like.
And I like Cyclades island architecture.
I especially like the old house architecture, in the oldest part of town. In the original part of Parikia there are different types of houses. The simple ‘poor folk’ houses like my grandparents’ house, the houses of the rich, and the venetian mansions.
Like this one. I love this building. Its a pity its falling apart… Many years ago it housed the art school on Paros.
My grandmother’s house is a simple 2 storey house, one room downstairs, one large room upstairs and two smaller ones. The staircase is outside and the toilet is outside, under the stairs. Its a very common design for that period.
The usual design of these houses is a main door downstairs, usually a double door and a small toilet/bathroom door (often made for very small people or people who can fold in half to take a shower).
My grandparents’ house front door.
This is an old style home in more or less cared for original condition.
This is a beautifully renovated old style home.
Often, older houses form archways leading from one cobblestone street to another as the house spans across from one side to the other. Sometimes the house itself is built above the arch, like these here.
Sometimes the archways are verandahs joining two parts of a home like this one in my mom’s neighbourhood.
These houses, like the venetian mansions, are called ‘archondika’ which I can’t find an actual translation for… but its a ‘nobleman’s’ house… ie the upper classes. They’re larger houses, with enclosed orchards and gardens behind walls and gates. A lot of these gardens have been made into restaurants now.
There are three of these houses next door and opposite the house my mother grew up in. One of them I often played in a kid. The old lady who owned it didn’t have children and left it to her brother’s daughters. They divided it in half, one half has been renovated, the other has fallen to ruin. This is the gate to the old orchard…
  
Meanwhile, the town has grown immensely since I was a kid on my summer holidays. Its now a sprawl built around the old town with houses scattered around the surrounding hills. Some of the new buildings are really nice. Some not so nice…
In the old days (ie the 70s, before the local government started imposing a style on new buildings) people would build square cement blocks for new houses. The ones who wanted to make their house look ‘cycladitiko’ in style would build square blocks, add a couple of arches, paint it white with blue shutters and call it good. This is a later model one and is one of the nicer examples of that style.
Here is a plainer, slightly more original building in the island style. No arches. I like it better than the first example, but still don’t like it much.
Then some people started building gorgeous houses. I want one of these!  I love this cute little house near Souvlia.
And this one is gorgeous, it totally fits in with the landscape. And its for sale!
Notice that these houses are all simpler, no fancy door surrounds, no sharp corners… and no arches!
Last but not least, my favourite! I just adore the uneven finish on the walls of this house. Its so much more authentic in my mind. In the old days people didn’t have professionals to finish their walls, they built houses from stone not brick, and then rendered then as best they could – unevenly with rounded corners and no hard edges.
My way!
I don’t know if you can see it clearly in the photo, but the walls have an uneven surface but not a rough texture.
Therein ends the lesson on greek island architecture.
Consider yourselves experts now.
z

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