Cycladic heritage is intertwined with the elements and the natural environment elements. Traditional building techniques (such as stone walls, terracing and irrigation in keeping with the natural landscape) are an integral part of the local culture of each Cycladic island. But these are in danger of being destroyed and forgotten…
The Under the Landscape project is led by Boulouki; an interdisciplinary collective who focus on disseminating knowledge about traditional Cycladic building techniques. Their project with us took place on the islands of Thirasia and Santorini, aiming to connect a multidisciplinary group of professionals and university students with local communities and their history. The project used architectural heritage and traditional building techniques as the starting point for a meaningful exchange between the scientific community and the local population.
What does this project deliver in practice?
Implemented by a diverse team of engineers, agronomists, archeologists, artists and other specialists, the project aimed to study local craftsmanship and architectural techniques at the settlement of Agrilia in Thirasia.
Since the footpath to this settlement had long since been blocked by lush vegetation, this project began with a literal unveiling of space which had been hidden for many years.
What followed was a restoration of this traditional, stone-lined pathway of Manolas-Agrilia. This ambitious project included site visits and field work to collect and record technical information (architectural and topographic surveys, local building materials), as well as testimonials from locals. A traditional building seminar then took place with workshops and presentations, coupled with a two-venue art exhibition in Thirasia and in Santorini. Finally, we hosted an international symposium to gather, present and share the knowledge we had acquired from both the scientists and the local communities in Thirasia and Santorini.
A bit about the organisation
BOULOUKI is an interdisciplinary research collaborative, whose work is focused on the study of traditional building techniques and materials. In Greek Boulouki means “gaggle”, travelling group, a name evoking the tradition of travelling companies of stone masons and craftsmen. Its aim is to trace and document the living carriers of such traditional knowledge; to study and to further disseminate it through workshops and actual building projects which are organised in collaboration with local communities.