Cyprus ...Is my Island ... when the goings rough...I would love to find you...Somewhere in a place like that........David Bowie
AKAMAS - Neonchorio - Village - Cyprus
A McAvoy - September 1987
A Survey of a Laona Village House in Stone mud and wood.
Village - Pano Akourdalia - Western Cyprus
Drawing by Andrew McAvoy undertaken in the Office of Costas Koutsoftides
Everything down to the metal Door handles was made locally from localised material. A house tuned to climate culture and agricultural system.... in its every detail.
This is not " Non Place" , very specific and increasingly rare.
It allows for 3 generations of the same family and many animals to live comfortably in close proximity
Survey of Village House - Pano Akourdalia - Laona - Pahos - Cyprus
Drawing by Andrew McAvoy
Up over and around a stone and mud brick village House.
Drawing by Andrew McAvoy
In this axonometric Drawing we looked at creating a small Village Eco museum by piggy backing a village house. 3 Generations of the same family still working the field system offered a willingness to open their garden gates and ascend people up an over their landscape, where they could hold objects related to the Landscape they were looking at.
Detailing for display of artifacts is carefully considered at Coutsoftides Architects
Untill very recently ...Every Laona village had a blacksmith and every house a door handle
Cyprus Is my Island ... when the goings rough...I would love to find you...Somewhere in a place like that........David Bowie
AKAMAS + the prevention of "Non Place"
When you approach the village of Neonchorion in the North West tip of Cyprus, there is a hand painted sign made by Landscape Architect - Moritsa Kelly it reads - " Welcome to Neochorion and the beauties of Akamas "
In contrast to the hideous mass tourism that potentially turns Cyprus into International -Non Place - there are; in the western foothills of the Troodos and throughout the Akamas peninsula - a number of villages collectively known as the Laona or Peace villages. Collectively they have attempted to affirm their own exact natures and consolidate buildings and typology that has lasted thousands of years. They provide an alternative, their plight is live. 99% of the tourism which predominates the suffereing Coastline ..avoids that narrative.
In an on going process of refinement of construction , the villages renew themselves via community labour and localised natural material.
Oak and Cypress wood , Mud bricks, Cut limestone and fired Ceramic.
We have been involved in measuring recording and facilitating within this "Laona" or peace process and Andrew was momentarily volunteering at The Lemba Archaeology station. In the face of bland mass tourism that only takes from the environment and culture the Island is multilayered with high points in world culture. Dig 1 m and you unoock a creative and productive story that is difficult to reconcile. The modern age of fast track destructive development has mostly missed the opportunity to unlock its history and create engaged tourism.
In terms of experimental Architecture .. its the Archaeologists that push the boundaries.
The Archaeology station at Lemba helps to extend the enquiry about Sustainable Building Materials, back as far as the neolithic period. In reconstructing round Houses on their original foot print . You might say its reversing the process of Archaeology that can in some cases be destructive in the process of creating a record. When a developer is marching on in a "Gung Hoe" manner the archaeologists are commonly dragged in as an Apology. In Lemba they are well ahead of that procurement process.
The simple typologies that the processes below illustrate offer much to the understanding of Heritage management , working with Climate and reducing Energy Consumption.
They offer in a small way a contribution to a more sustainable Island , an Island that is set to run out of water in 25 years.
Some of the recording work undertaken in collaboration with local Architect Costas Coutsoftides can be seen in the Cyprus Section of this site. But the quiet consideration of the Akamas , these villages and buildings reminds us to appreciate the everyday - ness of what is under our noses.
Its taught us - To knock nothing down. At some point it will be re-framed and gain relevance again.
Living with the Ancestors -
Khirokitia Round house Burial under the living room floor
Traditional Village House of the Akamas peninsula where external stairs led to an evening room with.
the breeze entering from 4 sides. after the heat of the day. Cut local stone forming byzantine arches became standard as agriculture advanced and the rich soils improved production and bartering of trades
Stock Village bus before tourism.
UN presence..An Island full of contradictions and suppressed conflict.
Save the last true wilderness of Cyprus - The Akamas Peninsula
from becoming Generic "NON PLACE"
Did you Know - That even before Venus and Aphrodite - Cyprus worshipped female Gods before Male Gods and its richest artistic flowering in fired Earth displayed that in Fertility based figurines.
Roman geometry over neolithic
Kissonerga - Paphos - Cyprus
In the search for a Sustainable Architecture Cyprus just might have the keys in its rich Red Earth.
For centuries it has been the material of choice.