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open events

AUTUMN SCHOOL | Οn traditional and sustainable construction

seminars | hands-on | excursion
1.Grigoris Koutropoulos 2023 10 31 (35).JPG

The Autumn School on traditional and sustainable construction explored the connection between traditional building techniques, modern issues on sustainable construction and the reduction of their environmental footprint, through a rich educational programme of seminars, hands-on training, tours and open events focused on public dialogue. 


The seminar programme included presentations and lectures, demonstrations and practical tests on the use of natural materials in traditional and sustainable building. Specifically, the seminars addressed various aspects concerning the use of stone, timber, traditional and modern building materials based on limestone and soil. Additionally, the seminars covered various issues related to energy design of historic and new constructions. The Former Primary School of Frasta was transformed into a lab for experimentation and testing. This involved raw material evaluation, preparation of different building materials, as well as the design of ecological proposals and construction solutions for the School’s renovation.


The hands-on part of the workshop focused on continuing the project of shaping the new school's courtyard gate by completing the cobblestone leading to its entrance. Under the guidance of the team members and experienced craftsmen, the 18 participants practised stone cutting,  constructed a dry stone cobblestone and applied stone paving using lime mortar. Furthermore, a demonstration of stone quarrying and processing on the river Arachthos was organised, as well as an educational tour to the region of Tzoumerka for the participants to get acquainted with the natural, architectural and cultural heritage of the place.

location: Frasta, Tzoumerka, Epirus, Greece

date: 17/10/2023 - 28/10/2023

aegis:  Ministry of Culture

co-organizers: Municipality of Central Tzoumerka, Municipality of Northern Tzoumerka, Technical Chamber of Greece Epirus Department, French School of Athens

support: J.M. Kaplan Fund, Ministry of Culture, Aikaterini Laskaridis Foundation, Non- Profit Civil Company AEGEAS

sponsorship in-kind: K&S Barberis 

creation: Christoforos Theocharis, Grigoris Koutropoulos, Panos Kostoulas, Ioanna Ntoutsi 

craftspeople: Pavlos Vichas, Yiannis Bakagiannis, Tryfonas Papaioannou, Dominic Taylor, Dimitris Fotis 

collaborators: Georgia Kanellopoulou, Nikiforos Meimaroglou, Ionas Sklavounos, Nafsika Stefanidou, Tereza Sotiriadou, Dimitra Tsiaouskoglou

lecturers: Vana Georgala,  Cécile Durvye, Andreas Kapetanios, Marilena Mela, Androniki Miltiadou-Fejans,  Gilles de Rapper, Elias Skoulidas, Eleftheria Tsakanika, Dimitra Tsirigoti 

public dialogue speakers: Nikos Vaitsis, Andreas Kapetanios, Eleftheria Tsakanika, Ioannis Tsigkros, Sotiris Tsoukarelis, Christos Chasiakos 


photography: Iason Anthanasiadis, Grigoris Koutropoulos, Nafsika Stefanidou 


film making: Iason Anthanasiadis

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Open Events

Throughout the workshop, several open events took place to encourage active participation from the local community and engage the general public as well. Specifically, a participatory "Midati" was organised, that aimed to clean the old path leading to the School, as well as a guided tour of the settlement and the historic bridge of Plaka. Furthermore, a public dialogue event was held, where representatives of the local authorities, social enterprises, members of the academic community and residents of the region participated. They engaged in discussions exchanging views on the potential for developing social entrepreneurship opportunities and innovation enterprises in the mountain communities of Epirus, with an emphasis on traditional and modern sustainable building.

Part of the open events was also the hybrid Meeting on different “Interpretations on architectural heritage” that was co-organised with the French School of Athens. Guest speakers from Greece and abroad gave lectures on the different aspects of heritage that are often silenced, highlighting the contribution of humanities to a better understanding and interpretation of the built environment. 

Overall, the Autumn School was a space for thought and experimentation, emphasising on understanding and application of historical building practices to reduce the environmental footprint of the construction sector, on using raw materials and on landscape management to protect the built and natural environment and the potential for revitalising the country's mountain communities. Simultaneously, the hands-on work contributed to the restoration and renovation of the Former Primary School through educational activities, aiming to transform it into a future "school" for the education, promoting of traditional techniques and sustainable building in Epirus and beyond.

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