An Architect's Sketchbook

by Cecilia Ramos

Mt. Menoikeion photoThis body of work is a visual representation and interpretation of the complex relationships between landscape, architecture, and monastic life that our team actively studied in the 2007 workshop. Unlike the work of a solitary artist who finds inspiration directly from the subject and within himself, the drawings that were completed at Prodromos were certainly of an academic and interdisciplinary nature where observation, history, and archaeological discoveries of the group informed and generated each visual exploration.

I would classify the drawings completed during the time at Prodromos into two categories: 1. Drawings that represent the current state of the monastic complex and 2 Drawings that reconstruct past architectural phases in history.

1.  The representation of the current state of the architecture served to both preserve and document the existing buildings and to bring forth important images, ideas, or spatial relationships that may not have been immediately obvious to a viewer. For example, the drawings of the chapels served both as documentation of an existing structure and representation of the structure’s design and placement in the landscape. In one drawing of a chapel we exaggerated the width of the perspective to accentuate the presence of ruined chapel walls and in another we called attention to the chapel’s outdoor fountain, a visual and sensual connection between the nearby stream and resultant built form.

Menoikeion photo 2.  Working closely with Nikos Bakirtzis and the architect Pandelis Xydas, we began another series of drawings whose aims were to hypothesize and reconstruct past phases of the monastery’s architecture.  Drawing from historical research, catalogued architectural references from the Byzantine period, archaeological findings on site, and general observation of the existing structures, we attempted to reconstruct representations of the original church in the 13th – 14th C., the tower of the 14th C. and the enclosure of the complex in the 14th C.