Xenia reloaded

29 June, 2014

Xenia reloaded

The dissertation forms the basis of a design research project, investigating the relationship of architecture to landscape, in the specific cultural context of contemporary Greece.

Greek version

Students : Konstantinos Papaoikonomou
Tutors: Nick Beech & Igea Troiani
MarchD, Oxford Brookes University
Presentation : 2013

Research Led Design
This dissertation forms a Research Led Design, implemented for MArchd program at Oxford Brooks University. It is formulated in two books, the travelogue and the dissertation. The dissertation forms the basis of a design research project, investigating the relationship of architecture to landscape, in the specific cultural context of contemporary Greece. The inspiration came from Greek architect Aris Konstantinidis (1913-1993) who throughout his career, and in his quest for architectural "truth", focused on an ordinary and essential element of architecture: the relationship between the building and its surroundings. The aim of this dissertation is to recover aspects of material and cultural practice (particularly in relation to the landscape) that are otherwise disappearing or almost lost in the increasingly contradictory and brutalized building landscape of Greece. The dissertation discusses the importance of Xenia Hotels for Modern Greek architectural history - a national programme instituted in the 1960s -, and assesses their current -often dilapidated- condition. The research starts with a travelogue, visiting the Xenia Hotels around Greece and observe. The main dissertation describes all the research that led to create the design Xeniart Redevelopment of Paliouri Bay.


papaoikonomou1 Aris Konstantinidis | Architect and Photographer.jpg

papaoikonomou2 map XENIA hotels codition today.jpg


Following Konstantinidis footsteps and in line with his prompt to "see and experience", I made a travelogue across Greece as a result of visiting and studying six of his Xenia hotels. Through my camera I captured and investigated his architecture and the diverse landscapes in which it is situated, in order to try to understand the elements that led him to his design decisions each time. I started those travelogues from Peloponnesus and headed North, covering a considerable part of Greece, approximately 2600km in seven days (04 - 11/01/2013). I had the opportunity to get inspired from visits to coastal and mountainous landscapes. Also I had the chance to observe whatever was left of the "anonymous architecture", in the terms that Konstantinidis described it and to be able to reach my own conclusions of the equivalent expressions today.


papaoikonomou3 travelogue map.jpg

papaoikonomou4 | Greek Anonymous Architecture in  2013 | The Miesian Yapi in Domokos_To be used as cover banner.jpg

papaoikonomou5 greek landscape and XENIA Kalambaka.jpg


ΧENIArt | Redevelopment of Paliouri Bay
In the Paliouri project, the space is dedicated to the cultural and artistic production and the development of the bay for promoting fine arts and photography through using some of the existing infrastructure and interventions that respects the beauty of the site. Paliouri is one of the most beautiful beaches of Chalkidiki, situated in the southeast end of the peninsula of Cassandra. Here in 1962 Konstantinidis proposed for first time a plan to redevelop the whole Paliouri bay to a tourist destination but only Xenia was built. The project is the redevelopment of the Paliouri Bay, in reference Konstadinidis initial vision with the difference that it suggests a new tourist model.  The design comes as the result of the research on Aris Konstantinidis architecture. The main principles applied to the Xeniart Redevelopment of Paliouri Bay are: standardization and grid, site integration and colours, the organic whole that defines the inside to the outside, framing the vieware, important intermediate and semi-open spaces, interesting and surprising result, visual surprise and visual comfort and the use of atriums.

For the construction will be used reinforced concrete frame with inverted beams layouted on a grid, stone masonry walls with reinforced slabs and steel frame structures when large openings are essential to be connected. Buildings orientation is in accordance with sustainable architecture and all the main places are connected through two main paths, totally integrated to the landscape.

The design proposes facilities for artists and people interested in the arts, that can socialise in an different way compared to the modern model, in a communal community atmosphere that inspire them.

The three main places of interest are: the public space (Beach facilities), the XENIArt cultural centre (existing Xenia renovated) and the private space - XENIArt | the solitude for artists. This space shall provide artists with a platform to accommodate their creative needs, an isolation "Mecca" in which users are able to experience the visual impact of the immediate environment, promoting relationships between culture and land. The proposal will include expanding and development of the existing camping, guest quarters (dormitory housing), art centre with studios, management and functioning of the resort to take the area of the reception, storage and social rooms, shops and cafeteria, art shop, relaxation spaces and the existing parking spaces.


papaoikonomou6 Masterplan | Redevelopment of the Paliouri bay.jpg

papaoikonomou7 XENIArt The cultural Centre | Belvedere platform framing the view.jpg

papaoikonomou8 XENIArt The solitude for Artists | The view Pavilion framing the smaller cove of the Paliouri Bay.jpg

papaoikonomou 9 XENIArt the solitude for artists | The Dormitory housing | View from the linking bridges

papaoikonomou 10 XENIArt the solitude for artists | The Dormitory housing | The socialising zone of the Souda


Exploring the "real" architecture Aris Konstantinidis, traveling to the same places and studying about Xenias led to this proposal, a different approach in tourist development, totally in harmony with the landscape. The design Xeniart Redevelopment of Paliouri Bay is opposed to the present abandonment and dereliction, in order to highlight and continue the architecture of Aris Konstantinidis



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