German Design Award German Design Award Winner 2020
Through the geomythological approach, one could associate the story of the Lernaean Hydra, with the natural topological features of ancient Argolis. The Lernaean Hydra symbolizes the hydrology of the specific geographical area, whereas the battle of Hercules with the beast stands for man’s attempts to cure the ills emanating from local phenomena, such as the harmful presence of the Lerna marshes might have been. In his drawing “Hercules Slaying the Hydra”, Raphael Lamar West captures accurately the intense effort with which man confronts nature.
Besides the mythological aspect, one can observe here the conjunctural similarity of the "shapes" in West's drawing with those of the project area’s topography – like the irregular “lacy” coastline, as the beachfront meets the water. This curved irregularity is of course a prevailing feature of the small peninsula where the project is situated, as well as of the Argolic landscape and the Peloponnese in general, consisting of low hills and terrain recesses and projections, reminiscent of a "wave drawing", while being constantly transformed.
The architectural “idea” renders, on both a pragmatic and symbolic level, on the one hand the curvilinear nature of the terrain of the Place, and on the other the historical metaphor, by setting the building volumes in place and directing their “movement” as if they were large scale carved stones, an integral part of the natural panorama. At the intersection of historical memory and the idiom of the landscape – as embodied in the proposed design – an architecture is created that can mobilize the senses and emotions, formulating an architecture intimate and yet unexpected, precise albeit inventive, narrative and simple still, primordial and contemporary at the same time.
Location: Porto Heli, Greece