The Saronic Gulf lies at the heart of the most intense cultural and archaeological tourism in Greece. This body of water once linked seven ancient city states. Archipelago proposes a set of punctual interventions (and attendant landscaping) whose purpose is to extend the possibilities of tourism for leisure, business, scholarship, the arts, and sport. The project seeks to develop prototypes for a new form of high-value tourism—for both Greek and international use.
For both practical and occult reasons, most Greek temples face east to utilize light from the rising sun. At night, classical ruins are lit from below. This lighting scheme signals a familiar idea of monument. But to me, these monuments are rendered unfamiliar by the orange electric lighting. The shadows are in the wrong places. It is unsettling, like a face lit from below with a flashlight during a campfire horror tale.
I wanted to design something that reversed the relationship between electric lighting and Greek temples: structures that are designed to be activated by electric light at night the same way Greek temples are activated by the sun. To translate the phenomenological experience of the Parthenon at sunrise to my project, I need to add the element of time.
Calendar began with the idea to place a spotlight above the island of Aegina programmed to turn 360-degrees over one year. The light grazes an area of Aegina’s terrain, and its movement illustrates the time and date like the hands on a massive clock. Four large, glass totems mark the locations on the island illuminated during the night of solstices and equinoxes, celebrating the changing of seasons. At precisely midnight, the near-perpendicular angle of incidence of the electric light lines up perfectly with the glass totem, causing it to cast its most vibrant shadow. It is like an eclipse at midnight.
Once constructed, I imagine Calendar will continue to generate activity in the light’s path. By assigning specific dates to areas of land, this project invites the residents of Aegina to imagine interventions inspired by the Greek calendar and time-based events.
Ultimately, Calendar is an architectural project without any windows, walls, or roofs; it merely superimposes a regular system of time on an irregular island. The project is a meditation on the abstract concepts of time and place, designing new occult phenomenological experiences to celebrate the cycle of seasons. It proposes that the essential principles of architecture follow time, place, and light.