Stelios Kois sees these buildings as living organisms, just as he does when he designs

Stelios Kois

People and buildings, a living relationship

Text: Dimitra Kehagia

It isn’t easy to find and approach Stelios Kois, an internationally-acclaimed architect with significant awards and projects in numerous countries. His time is limited. Is he willing to talk but can’t find the time? The truth is he prefers to talk through his work.
Raised under the shadow of Athos – his roots are from Ouranoupolis, Halkidiki – he grew up in love, calmness, light and shadows. Up to now, one could say that the 40-year-old architect works in a state of shadow, without fanfare, appearances, interviews and talks. Even his appearance attests to this, as he hides behind a mass of long hair and a beard, a style he adopted before it became fashionable.
He is very careful when it comes to selecting associates, projects, colors, lighting, materials, sounds and images. Even when it comes to questions! Out of the five questions we brought before him, he opted to answer the one related to abandoned downtown buildings in Greek cities.
Stelios Kois sees these buildings as living organisms, just as he does when he designs and notes that “abandonment, in all forms and expressions, certainly creates a sense of dejection.”
He even goes a step further and reminds us that in the Japanese architectural tradition, houses are constructed in such a way as to not outlast the life duration of their inhabitants. This is a very interesting concept to Kois since, as he points out, “it creates a dialogue between the animate and the inanimate and forms an organic connection between the two. The building’s structure deteriorates, just as the body of its inhabitant does.”
Nevertheless, he is saddened when beautiful buildings in the urban fabric of Athens, Thessaloniki and other cities such as Nafplio or Ermoupolis, are left unattended and they decay to the point where the only option left is to demolish them.
« I view these buildings as structural gems of a bygone era. They are heirlooms of domestic architecture and cultural heritage, havens of our collective memory. They cease to be merely excellent structures appreciated by architects, they hold something of a greater value for everyone.»

Stelios Kois founded the firm Kois Associated Architects in Athens in the year 2007. The team works in a research laboratory climate, with the participation of architects, engineers, city planners and artists, driven by the principle that innovative and pioneering solutions can emerge only through diversity and contrast. The firm enjoys international prestige and recognition and its projects have been featured in numerous national and international books, magazines and online editions.