The International Conference ECOWEEK Crete 2016 in Agios Nikolaos, an initiative of the G. & A. Mamidakis Foundation, is completed in cooperation with the NGO ECOWEEK, the Municipality of Agios Nikolaos, the Region of Crete Regional Part Lassithi and the Bluegr Hotels & Resorts. The ECOWEEK Crete 2016 had wide acceptance and support of the local community and a number of strategic partners and communication partners that have contributed substantially to the success of the event’s organization.

During the conference a number of events took place, that concern sustainable design in selected sites in the city, environmental awareness, in the form of lectures, and particular interventions in several parts of Agios Nikolaos, Crete. 

ECOWEEK Crete 2016 took place from the 3rd till the 10th of July and it hosted expert architects from Greece and abroad – Canada, Italy, UK, Israel, and Turkey. More than 500 visitors attended the conference and 60 students of architecture and engineering from academic institutions in Greece, Turkey and the US, took part at the workshops and interventions.

The schedule of ECOWEEK Crete 2016 in Agios Nikolaos was highly educational as new methods that contribute to sustainable development were presented and discussed. Specifically, important issues were addressed such as natural construction techniques and materials, alternative waste construction and demolition methods, innovative green building materials and composting of organic waste at the hotels of St. Nicholas with an introduction and site visit to a functioning composting installation.

ECOWEEK Crete 2016 and its participants made their presence even “louder” in Agios Nikolaos, through workshops, research and field operations in various parts of the city.

Initially as a starting point, a beach and sea bed cleaning at Ammos beach was organized, in cooperation with Pelagos diving center and Rescue Team Crete.

Then, the following interventions took place as the program of the ECOWEEK Crete 2016 was unfolding:

  • Transforming the Municipal park in order to unify public space, giving an identity to the Park, so that the local community will use it in a different way.
  • Sissi’s intervention took place in collaboration with the local community, aiming at the return of public space to the pedestrians, which is now occupied by cars and tables, at the area of Sissi.
  • Titled ‘Symbiotic Urban Reef’ the team studied the seafront and proposed an intervention which would turn the seafront as the new facade of the city.
  • Titled “Reviewing the green school’ the team set the grounds for significant changes at the 3rd Primary School of Agios Nikolaos, particularly (a) The parents’ waiting area next to the school main entrance gate (b) The front courtyard (c) The internal court under an existing skylight, and finally (d) The herb garden in the backyard.
  • At the 5th Primary School of Agios Nikolaos in cooperation with parents and teachers, the new functional courtyard of the school was designed which the Municipality aims to implement.
  • The idea of improving the Steps of Agios Nikolaos was designed, two structures which will create the conditions, so that the space will become more welcoming and accommodating.
  • In a site of natural beauty that hosts agro-tourist activities at Limni, an area outside of Agios Nikolaos, the group focused on the construction of two small structures: an external oven and an outdoor seating area.
  • In a site of natural beauty that hosts ecological activities, outside of Agios Nikolaos the group focused on learning how to build with natural materials – earth bags, earth, clay, wood and stone – and construction techniques based on these materials.

Three films were screened through ECOWEEK, “The Secret Life of Materials” a film about the application of nanotechnology in design, and “Koyaanisqatsi” a documentary by Reggio Godfrey, scored by Philip Glass, and “The Human Scale” by Andreas Mol Dalsgaard, inspired by the work of the Danish urban planner JanGehl.

The week ended with the presentation and exhibition of the workshops at the Municipal Gallery.