A constructed Palace

This week’s excursion was not only a fascination look into the nature of modern construction practices, but also the way a space is constructed and the way a building’s interior can be an entirely separate entity than a space’s exterior and can provide valuable insights as to the nature of a constructed space, and can be useful when applied to the theoretical palace I will be designing at Akrotiri.

During the tour, we learned that the building itself had undergone many stages of redevelopment and redesign, both interior and exterior, with this construction being one set in a long line of different refurbishments and redesigns.  This continual development has been mostly representational and stylistic in nature, such as the 1987 redesigns that removed many of the older more open elements of the space in favor of more enclosed, modern elements.

  • this space was a dozen small enclosed offices before the redesign knocked out the walls.

This ties indirectly into historical aspects of the Akrotiri site, which show signs of rebuilding and reconstruction after seismic activity destroyed much of their settlement, and though they stuck with the same general layout and theme, the changes in the continuity of the space were apparent (Palyvou 1986, 194).

  • Eastern Entrance to Akrotiri, partially preserved (Palyvou 1986)

This hands on experience was very useful for seeing how construction and rebuilding can influence changes in a space, even within the same dimensions as it was originally built.

Another key aspect that this tour set insight on were aspects of openness and light.  Many of the redesigns the library is currently undergoing are in an attempt to open the space up more, and bring more light and open space within the library.

  • section of library being opened up to accommodate a children’s library and teen center.

  • planned site of a windowed theater area for use in performances and weddings.

  • This previously observed room is being expanded to take advantage of the previously mostly covered large windows.

As can be seen, the light and openness being added to this site is both physical and metaphorical, as the open spaces are being used to both synesthetically expand the space through an introduction of light and sound, and foster centers of community and public interaction.  Many aspects of Akrotiri’s design, from the flowing nature of the settlement into central boulevards and the large window spaces facing outward to let light in, seem to serve a similar purpose (Palyvou 1986, 184), in order to make a bright space of community and public interaction.

  • open courtyard from the site.

McMahon (2013, 176), sites one of the key aspects of royal or palatial architecture to be the synesthetic impact and nature of how a space is experienced internally.  These motifs of light and openness should feature prominently in any palatial depiction of the synesthetic impact of a hypothetical Akrotiri Palace.

-Dominic Morganti


McMahon, A. (2013) “Space, Sound, and Light: Toward a Sensory Experience of Ancient Monumental Architecture,”  American Journal of Archaeology 117(2): 163-179

Palyvou, C. (1986) “Notes on the Town Plan of Late Cycladic Akrotiri, Thera.”The Annual of the British School at Athens