Tα Green Talks is a new series of Podcasts by ECOWEEK Archisearch.gr and Design Ambassador. This new series of Podcasts co-hosted by Vassilios Bartzokas creator of ARCHISEARCH.GR & the DESIGN AMBASSADOR, and architect Elias Messinas creator of ECOWEEK. The duo interviews leading Architecture and Design personalities who share their experience and how they connect Design, Sustainability and Innovation in their work.
Thomas Doxiadis, ASLA, Architect Harvard University. Thomas founded the architecture and landscape practice doxiadis+ (1999), which addresses design on the basis of environmental and landscape ecology principles. Throughout the last 20 years doxiadis+ has established an international presence and reputation for our specialization in reading the landscape and providing designs that jointly satisfy the needs of people and nature. We deliver projects which are at once dynamic and sensitive for client’s which demand and value the best. The practice has received several awards and has contributed in various national and international publications and participated in scientific conferences and publications focusing on ecology, landscape, and the city.
Since the beginning, he decided to put sustainability in priority in his works: “Growing up in Athens, a harsh urban environment, and spending summers in the countryside, basically, having paradise in the summer, always associated with landscapes, beaches, lying on rocks, playing with earth. This formed the dualism of my way of thinking between being an urban dweller on the one hand but having a deep love for nature and landscape on the other“.
While the world is coping with the issue of climate change, doxiadis+ office aims to create landscapes that are not only beautiful but also resilient, adaptive to climate change: “We take our journeys together, we create things that we are all happy with, as a team. We don’t see, ecology, biodiversity, climate change as different subjects. It is all under the same heading. Climate change is one thing happening to our living planet. Climate change is here, so the are two paths internationally recognized. One is mitigation, what all of us can do to make it less extreme and the other is adaptation, which is how can we prepare infrastructure, systems, society to adapt to this change“.
Adaptation is important for their approach, dry planting for example is a method they have applied: “Practically, dry planting is about using plants that require less water to survive. When we started the practice, grass was prevalent, even in very dry areas of Greece. That is a huge consumer of water. So, we tried convincing people to go from this to frigana for example, which is a sort of dependent drought plant communities, if you overwater them, they die. What we have seen, working in the drier part of the Mediterranean, the drier the conditions, the more danger you have of erosion. You also lose a lot of earth from erosion and the reason is what humans do with the physical service of the planet. The degree to which we fill surfaces with hard materials that do not absorb water, creates floods and at the same time much drier conditions. This negative feedback, makes local climate drier and prevents plants from growing healthily“.
About the maintenance of the cities in terms of ecological balance and symbiosis, he says: “Nowadays, humanity occupies a huge percentage of the earth surface, making it sterile. I think, as humans, there is part of us that needs contact, interchange, symbiosis with natural systems, in order to be healthy and happy. I assume that what is going to happen is a symbiosis between the technical and the biological. Already the building and urban designing world, have started to combine technological and biological systems, and I think this is the direction to explore. We as humans can work with nature to create unions that work for everyone, rather than creating something that works only for humans and not even for them in the end“.
His advice to young architects and their portfolio, at the starting point of their career, is: “There are many paths, I don’t think I know the right one. I think you need to create a symbiosis between different things, to be able to do good work. Concerning someone’s portfolio, it could be excellent, but the person not be a good fit. Fit for us means, someone who shares our passion and ethics, the same direction and principles. Technical and professional expertise is also nice, as well as design sense, to have the capacity to create meaning and beauty. Last but not least, each person needs to know who they are“.
Listen to the whole episode with Thomas Doxiadis here
You can find all the episodes of the Green Talks series here