The objective of the present dissertation is the design and construction of three buildings in the village of Milies in Mount Pelion.
The selection of the topic is tightly connected to the author’s most intimate memories of her childhood. Flashes from the family life in the old house in Milies have emerged her wish to move permanently to this village in the future. This dissertation is perhaps the first attempt to realise her dream. In every visit in the old house she recalls moments of the family gathering around the wooden table. The most intense feeling however, i.e. that of peacefulness, serenity and security, comes from the interior of the house, which brings in her mind all the personal moments she has experienced in various parts of the house, such as the wooden ledge of the window or the divans around the fireplace. Those memories have become a kind of legacy that motivated her to carry out the dissertation, which is presented in brief hereafter.
The first part describes the historical, geographical, political, economical and social background of the place focusing on those special features that compose its character. Milies at all times has been one of the wealthiest villages in Mount Pelion. According to tradition, its name is accredited to the residents of village Milies in the island of Evia, who attempted to escape from the pirates’ attacks and founded a new village at the current position in Mount Pelion. This story explains among others the scarce seaview one has from the village. During the 19th century architecture in Milies followed the Northern Greek trend: wealthy owners brought craftsmen from Epirus and Macedonia to build impressive mansion-houses. Years after, in 1943 the village suffered under the command of Nazis, who exercised retaliation and burned down the majority of residences. Later, the tragic outcomes of the earthquakes in 1955 and 1956 as well as the general economical and political instability that Greece had been facing at that time led to the decline of the Pelion architecture, leaving only a few samples of its traditional style. These samples constitute inspiration for the new buildings that keep increasing in our days.
In contrast to the architecture one may face today when visiting Milies, this dissertation proposes the construction of a different type of mansion-house, relatively distanced from the strict typical framework of the Pelion architectural trend. Goals of the dissertation are the synthesis around the existent house, the smooth integration of the mansion-houses in the traditional residential web and their development using the author’s childhood memories. The general objective is the construction of three different independent residential cells which will occupy the whole land available and will intercommunicate through a yard. This yard constitutes a structural part of the construction since it functions in a way as the meeting point for the family, like in the old house. An open-air sitting room and an external kiln are built centrally in this yard. On a theoretical plane the construction of the yard directs to the lounge room of the old mansion-houses, where families used to gather.
The three houses are built circumferentially in the building plot, all viewing towards the existent old building, creating in this way a sense of interconnection between the past and the present and also shedding a feeling of introversion allover the block. The two houses connect to each other in the floor via a common veranda, while the third house is totally independent. In several circumstances, the windowsills function as seats, interior or exterior, linking the inside with the outside. The concept of πρισματικοτητα is used in various parts of the block. The entrance to the building plot is from a slot on the side wall. Stepping out of the entrance there is a fabulous panoramic view towards the sea, which is achieved due to the proper “breaks” in the ground floor walls of the two houses.
As for the materials, the construction uses local stuff, such as stone and wood. The structure is 0.50m thick like the old stone structures, despite being of cement. The window recesses and the windowsills, which can be used as benches, are made of wood. The roofs are constructed in such a way that one seems as an extension of the other forming thus a common imaginary roof that covers the entire block bringing about the impression of one house. From the inner side, the roofs are wooden, while from the outer side they are built with stone from Mount Pelion, which has the same colour with the cement used for the walls, ensuring thus an aesthetic harmony. The facets of each floor are also wooden. The elaboration of the openings in every floor is based on the memory of the knit lace that is widely used as material for curtains in Pelion. In other words, woods are placed in a way to follow the surge of the lace so that the whole scenery reminds one of it, as if one looks through a lace curtain.
To sum up, this dissertation attempts to bring together the past and the present using up-to-date methods and techniques so that a modern block of mansion-houses can smoothly integrate into the traditional local architecture and its enormous cultural identity.