I cannot describe how excited I feel since this mornign, when I read about this new project in Oxia island, in Greece. We, in Greece, knew already from last year that the emir of Qatar had bought from the greek state the islet of Oxia (close to Patras, on the edge between Ionian Sea and Corinthian Gulf) in order to built an art park, but no one really know what it was about.
Today the architectural studio in charge of this project Agiostratitis Architects is presenting it exclusively in Lifo.gr.
I am quoting the original exclusive artical from Lifo.gr.
“Oxia is an islet in the Ionian Sea west of the Aetoloakarnania Region and east of Ithaca. It belongs to the Echinades Islands and is the second largest island of Echinades after Petala. It has an area of 4,223 sq. km. and is uninhabited. It belongs to the municipality of Ithaca. Nearly a year ago the announcement that this small private island was sold by the family Stamoulis to the royal family of Qatar became news of first order. Oxia passed into the hands of the Emir of Qatar vs 5 million Euro, aspiring to become a “global tourism destination and a benchmark in the international cultural map.” Certainly this is one of the largest investments ever made in Greece.
The investment plan, which was developed by the internationally renowned architectural firm aa Associates / Stelios Agiostratitis & Partners Architects Engineers, Ltd., is one of the most talked about business moves that have been made in our country. We met the architect, Mr Andrew Agiostratitis, son of the founder of the architectural firm, Stelios Agiostratitis, who guided us to the future of Oxia Art Island and showed us the plan development and exploitation of Oxia.
The concept of Oxia.
In Greece tourism is considered heavy industry. There are many good resorts. Therefore, we wanted something that would work in two axes. First, we wanted to create something that the audience would love and would be truly remarkable for Greece. Secondly, it had to be something very tempting as a destination for visitors. We knew that there is a unique art island Naoshima located in Japan, but one can only reach it as a daily visitor, without the possibility to stay. There is a worldwide fanatic audience drawn by vacation of this concept. Our country is ideal for something like it and as it is considered the cradle of civilization, creating a resort that includes the elements of art, culture and hospitality, matches more here than in any other country.
Thereby, we adopted the idea of an art island, which found a positive response from the government agencies and the local community. We spent too much time to circumscribe the concept of art with individual activities. We consorted and heard the inhabitants of the region. The mood of the investor is to benefit the local economy. Therefore, the whole island will be complemented by a network of activities, such as trips-tours, which will help the development of tourism.
Based on three pillars: art, culture and hospitality. From the moment the visitor approaches the marina, which will host sculptured works of art, the landscape will prepare him for the respect shown to the architecture of the Ionian Islands. The provision for an indoors museum both in the main hotel and welcome center will be substantially the second contact of the visitor with the unique concept. In the main reception there will be a special area of environmental awareness relating to the status of Natura, which governs the island, and a gallery that will host temporary art exhibitions. An ancient architecture amphitheater will host cultural performances, plays, concerts, etc. will be manufactured in the central part of the island. A very particular part of the island will be the homes of artists. It is a residential complex to be named “Artist Village» and which is intended to accommodate artists of international caliber, who will be still hosted together with their families for as long as they want. During their stay they will be provided by a fully equipped studio, where they can create undistracted, organize art workshops or even exhibitions. The only commitment present between the resort and the artist is that what will be created always belongs to the artist, but will remain and will be exposed on the island. It is something which will provide recognition to the artist, who does not need to be famous, and it will be something like exchange which benefits both. An important role will be played by the daughter of the emir, Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, who is the head curator of all the museums of Qatar, with most recent the stunning Islamic Art Museum, in Doha. Consequently, lending projects and organizing exhibitions will be something that might further promote the artistic part of the island. Another activity that we want to include in the calendar of the island are the artistic symposiums with students form the School of Fine Arts as well as new artists. By all this, I want to show you that the effort we are making is seeking to include everyone from the unknown to the most famous and from the youngest to the oldest.The central marina
The island is under the stutus of Natura 2000. Natura regards to flora, fauna and the surrounding marine area. Under preparation, there is a study on protected species (if any), carried through all the four seasons of the year and will be accompanied by a technical report with any findings. Our goal is to create a place of tranquility and wellness in a friendly ,for humans and nature, environment. Will be created observatories in the area where there will be no development, where the visitor will go on foot to enjoy nature. This will be recorded electronically, so any lover of nature around the world may at any time follow.
Oxia is a very beautiful island with amazing waters. The northern part of the island is so steep and precipitous that does not allow any kind of development. The general topography of the island is rocky. The development takes place in the southern part. We are in consultation with all relevant services from the beginning of the design (masterplan), respecting _ the island and the environmental peculiarities, leaving over 50% of its area untouched. With environmental approach to design, we try to do the whole project eco friendly. During the construction , the building products will be transferred to appointed disposal sites and during the operation of the resort , there will be performed a correct waste management of waste, water and energy. It is foreseen the use of hybrid electric cars.House of 375 sqm
The local community welcomed the project strongly from the first moment. We speak, of course about an investment of 300 million euros on an island that was uninhabited, which wants to put the area on the world tourism map. Also, it is a desire of the investor to give preference and priority to the selection of the workforce from the surrounding area, so that everyone can understand the benefits of such a development. What is also worth mentioning is that government the agencies showed unprecedented, perhaps, reflexes to overcome the time-consuming bureaucracy and to move the processes with the speeds that a project of this magnitude requires.”
Photos: Paris Tavitian, LIFO