Myconian Kyma’s Landscape Architect Karolos Chanikian in His Own Words

National Technical University of Athens architect, landscape architect MLA & founder of Greenways.

Acclaimed landscape architect of Myconian Kyma among other projects, Karolos Chanikian of Greenways writes about all the new techniques that provide solutions for the urban fabric, improving our quality of life.

Greek cities are in considerable need of green zones. In densely built Athens, in Thessaloniki and almost every city in the country, green architecture has been called upon to provide solutions that are eco-friendly and improve daily life.

When we founded Greenways in 1997, the value of landscape architecture was not widely known in Greece yet. It was a huge challenge for us to demonstrate in practice why this sector is necessary, and to change perceptions. Combining the knowledge and know-how of architects, engineers, landscape architects, designers, agronomists and specialized technicians, the landscape is significantly improved today.

Today, we see new methods for plant cultivation on balconies, green paving and rooftop farms

There are now several examples of the improvements that green interventions bring to the urban fabric. At the heart of this approach is the element of nature. Neither a building nor a small or large cluster of buildings, such as a city, exist in a vacuum. The way a building adapts to its environment does not only change its aesthetic and financial value but can bring about significant benefits for local residents. Traditional or innovative in its form and infrastructure, the garden constitutes an extension of the building and ought to constitute a sustainable extension of its interior.

The way a building adapts to its environment does not only change its aesthetic and financial value but can bring about significant benefits for local residents.

From the creation of eco-parks to green atriums and green walls, multiple opportunities exist to add more greenery to our everyday urban life. Today, we see new methods for plant cultivation on balconies, green paving and rooftop farms. For example, vertical gardens are one of the most popular trends in architecture, and they continue to be adopted in our country too.

It is important to note that green architecture and landscape architecture are not a luxury and do not have mere beautification as their primary goal. On the contrary, even on a small scale, such projects bring immediate benefits to the environment and the health of local residents. The urban heat island phenomenon is observed when urban areas – usually at the center of a city – consistently record higher temperatures than rural areas of the same city due to building materials, energy usage, emissions and anthropogenic activities. The city does not “breathe,” the air does not flow, and heatwaves are more intense. If we add greenery to these neighborhoods by creating roof gardens or planting trees in the sidewalks, we increase evapotranspiration levels, helping the temperature to remain lower. Even small green lungs help lower carbon emissions, contributing to the fight against global warming.

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