foreword : Municipality of Chania

The As the Mayor of the Municipality of Chania, I would like to greet CMA| EDU: The 2013 Exhibition, which is organized to celebrate the talent of  Design, regarding the Mediterranean Schools of Architecture. CMA| EDU: The 2013 Exhibition takes place at the Center of Mediterranean Architecture in the beautiful city of Chania, with the unique background of our Venetian Port. 

CMA| EDU: The 2013 Exhibition wishes to promote the Mediterranean identity as it was conceptualized and manifested in the works of young people, who study architecture in the countries of this region. The specific cultural event is a significant and unique chance to exchange ideas and record the development in the field of Architectural Design and at the same time promote the quality architectural projects that take place in Crete.

We believe that the experience which will be gained, will help the participants, but also the visitors of the exhibition, to define their responsibility regarding the contribution of each individual to the configuration of the structured and the natural environment; the determination of the function and aesthetic of our City and the quality of life for the citizens.

We welcome all the participants to our island, we also receive and welcome with great joy their works and projects and wish great success for this exhibition, which is so significant for our City, but as well, for the wider region of the Mediterranean countries.

Manolis Skoulakis
Mayor of the Municipality of Chania

foreword : K.E.P.PE.DI.H.-K.A.M.

The Centre for Mediterranean Architecture (CMA) in Chania, Crete, Greece is pleased to host the CMA | EDU : The 2013 Exhibition, the first in a series of exhibitions organized to celebrate design talent in Mediterranean Schools of Architecture. The CMA was founded in 1997 and it is part of the Architecture Network of the Greek Ministry of Culture. Its mission is to organize a variety of activities and programs with the objective to increase social consciousness around the way the artificial environment and architecture in particular affect the idiosyncratic, yet unique, Mediterranean region and its people. 

Having a long list of international events in its background, both cultural and educational, the CMA wishes to emphasize and promote the Mediterranean identity as it conceptualized and manifested in the works of young people who study architecture in the countries of this region. CMA | EDU : The 2013 Exhibition marks the beginning of a biannual series of events through which CMA hopes to foster an active network uniting the Mediterranean Schools of Architecture.

Architecture is the common ground that shapes our experiences. We walk in it, we work in it, we live in it. It provides people with a setting for their lives to unravel. Architecture belongs to the people that live it, it belongs to their dreams and expectations, it provides the cultural visual language that people inherit and evolve. CMA acts as a place where creators and people come together to establish their connection. It is a place where the discourse of the future of architecture happens. It is the place where the built heritage, traditions, and the contemporary are combined to reveal the future of our surroundings.

We aim to initialize a tradition, a meeting point for such an architectural discourse that addresses the whole Mediterranean region. Chania, being a place with a multicultural historical background, presents a built environment with more than one identities. This spatial diversity renders it a place where the discussion of the Mediterranean identity grows thick. As a popular touristic destination, this investigation is extended to many contemporary problematics. How does tourism affect an environment with a distinctive identity? How can tourists actually sense this distinctive identity and grasp it as a unique experience that can only be gained in the specific place?

This issues are worth be investigated and discussed from as many possible perspectives to develop strategies that can diversify according to individual characteristics, promoting sustainable development by empowering the true essence of every Mediterranean location. Our enterprise brings alive the dream of a true international spirit, where views and opinions are openly presented and discussed, where cultures come closer and make themselves distinctive at the same time. CMA evolves from a space that exhibits architecture to a place where architecture is discussed and experienced. This transition is one major directive, a promise, along a path where Chania transforms again to a prominent Centre of the Mediterranean, of Europe, of the world.

As the President of KEPPEDIH-KAM I have the distinct pleasure to launch the first of a series of events to achieve these goals. And I couldn’t be happier that this exhibition hosts the work of our future, the wonderful work of students that describe their vision of our common place, the Mediterranean.

Nansy Aggelaki

foreword : exhibition curator

A great building must begin with the unmeasurable, must go through measurable means when it is being designed and in the end must be unmeasurable.”
Louis Kahn

There is no design work closer to this quote than the work of young optimistic and idealistic architects, projecting their true vision as their final and most prominent “statement” concluding a most substantial step in their education. When these students come from the Mediterranean region, their work is also set on a true “unmeasurable” location –the idiosyncratic Mediterranean landscape. An entity felt but not defined. This vagueness derives from the fact that from the moment the term “Mediterranean” identity emerged it meant simultaneously specificities and abstractions. Specificities were the things that people could see and note on a piece of paper, such as houses and alleys, or taste them, such as olives and bread, or feel them, such as fabrics, and so on and so forth. Abstractions, on the other hand, originated from the strong feeling that there is something connecting all this specificities, something difficult to describe but all the same acting as a background, a stage where everything takes pace, such as the coastlines, the breezes, the color of the water, the light of the sun, the smiles on people’s faces.

One of the most prominent features though, in both categories, has always been the built environment, either as specific shapes or colors, or as entities that merge in the landscape. Small or large, religious or secular, military or civil, even the fences and the lighthouses, all man-made structures affect significantly the sense of place and act as a modifier to the emergence of the region’s genius loci. This process is alive. The built environment continues to evolve and today, transpired by the contemporary concurrences, there is distinct trend for merging locality with globality. The ‘new’ international style, emerging from the permeating digital media and its world-affecting applications, tries to find its expression, its manifestation in bridging the past, the present and the future.

Graduate thesis projects epitomize this fact presenting the views of what is coming in the following years, as the ‘fresh’ young practitioners’ aim to combine the views and skills of the digital generation with the cultural heritage of the palimpsest consisting the Mediterranean region. It is the visual representation of the discourse on how the global trends will affect local mannerisms. On how global politics and socio-economic dynamics affect local traditions and cultural relations. This is evident in the themes of the projects. It is also evident in the techniques used to represent and communicate their ‘statement’. Motifs and traditional materials are applied in an innovative context and design techniques. Projects that aim to act as bridges between styles and typologies, and go as far as connecting states, civilizations, and cultures.

These ‘connections’ present clearly the differences and similarities that form the Mediterranean identity as it evolves in the 21st century. They emphasize and promote the Mediterranean identity as it is conceptualized and manifested in the works of young talented people who study architecture in the countries of this region. And as this dialogue of regional ‘self-awareness’ emerges, and the discourse on how the increase of social and intercultural consciousness around the way the artificial environment and architecture in particular affect the idiosyncratic, yet unique, Mediterranean region and its people is facilitated, the objective of this exhibition is met.

Konstantinos-Alketas Oungrinis
Assistant Professor
School of Architecture
Technical University of Crete