Konstantinos & Grigorios V. Petropoulos
NOUN (plural nostoi /-toi/)
We rely on the belief that the Peloponnese is an archipelago of different and often contradictory places where reality and fantasy collide. The project discusses the story of a fictional journey, using narration as the main architectural tool as well as an inspirational catalyst. The vehicle of this journey is the train which follows the now disused railway network of the Peloponnese, which unexpectedly seized all operations in 2011, after having served the public for more than one hundred and thirty years.
This is the place, where Nostos comes to life. This word which literally means «A homecoming» is a term coined by Homer to describe the journey of Odysseus from Troy back to Ithaca. The notion of Nostos underlines the concept of wandering, which in our scenario acquires a past, a present and a future, this time through the eyes of a wanderer. Peloponnese becomes the place where the narrative comes to life while its land is transformed into the generator of the myth. The twelve scenes of the epic were grouped into six building programs, after the careful analysis of the common themes between the episodes of Odyssey, and then implemented to the new stations. The 159 existing stations of the vast network are enriched with a series of six interventions – stations through which the train passes; The Flea Market, the Shelter, the Agrotourism Habitat, the Museum, the Thermal Baths and the Naval Station. Each one of them acquires a distinct building programme, which is influenced by the morphology of the terrain, the history of the region, the needs of the area, and most importantly the characteristics of Odysseus’ story. Through their boundaries, either closed or permeable, the interventions reconstruct their own scenes galvanized by the aura of the Homeric poem.
Each design follows the archetype of the square, while the buildings are conceived as double walls with an atrium occupying their central core. These entities should be better understood like interpretational devices of the landscape, as in their own way, they try to capture the contrasting terrains of the greek land, by framing and sampling the natural landscape, acting like pauses in the objective continuity of space. Thus, the journey becomes an architectural narrative, which highlights the notions of movement and stoppage, beginning and ending, experience and knowledge, myth and reality, which gradually unlocks the mysteries of travelling by train. The landscape, having its own architectural quality and each intervention, with its unique character, create a palimpsest of experiences and memories.
μήτηρ ἠδὲ πατὴρ ἠδ᾿ ἄλλοι πάντες ἑταῖροι.