Book Chapter

Kefalonia is for Lovers

“Kefalonia is for Lovers”, in Do you remember how perfect everything was? The Work of Zoe Zenghelis. Edited by Hamed Khosravi. London, UK: AA Publications, 2021.

Platon Issaias
Archive, Book Chapter, Landscape

OMA’s practice from 1972–1985 is undeniably characterized by projects that problematise the metropolitan condition of the late-capitalist city. Their design briefs, speculative projects and competition entries were informed by post-domestic environments, emerging spaces of leisure and work, and the challenges of new forms of life, aiming to reclaim a role for architectural form – a contemporary language of brutal realism. Berlin, London, New York and Paris, archetypal cities of western modernity and urbanity, offered a fertile context for these radical experiments; they became the playground in which Rem Koolhaas’s writings, Elia Zenghelis’ drawings and Zoe Zenghelis’ and Madelon Vriesendorp’s paintings created a universe of beauty, lust and unapologetic hedonism.

The text addresses four projects developed by OMA in 1984–85 on the island of Kefalonia: the redevelopment of St. Gerasimos Sacred Plain, the redesign of Koutavos Bay, and the beaches of Skala and Platys Gialos. In these projects, Zoe’s artistic practice – and particularly her work on Greek landscapes in Kefalonia and beyond – became enmeshed with OMA’s formulation of architectural devices that operate in the ‘transposed paradises’ of these Arcadian, hedonistic projects. Colours, abstract forms and the confrontation with topographical and natural elements – the sea, the sky, mountains, plains, lakes – are here not mere representations of architectural projects, but rather the conceptual framework through which these projects exist in the first place. Moreover, this phase of the collaboration between Zoe Zenghelis and OMA resulted in a striking design experiment based on the deployment of archetypal forms such as ‘the avenue’, ‘the pier’, ‘the platform’, ‘steps’ and ‘the canopy’, as well as the treatment of vegetation as a primary formal and organizational element in their projects.

The text concludes with an interview with the Greek architect Elias Veneris, a key member of the Office of Metropolitan Architecture in the late 1970s and early 80s, project leader of OMA Athens and key contributor in the Kefalonia works.

[Links to the online exhibition at the AA and the book at the AA Bookshop]


Fatura Collaborative – Research & Design Practice, was founded in 2009 and is developing projects across a wide range of scales, from intimate objects and performance, to architecture, urban design and planning. We are interested in architecture as social infrastructure, in developing collective equipments, in the design of spaces of care, empathy and welfare. We design and research expanding new problematics about ecology, the domestic, everyday life and the city.



is an architect and researcher based in London. She studied architecture in Patras, Greece, and currently is a PhD candidate at the School of Architecture at the Royal College of Art in London. Her research focuses on the intersections between social movements and the state apparatus, and centers around the ad-hoc infrastructures created for welfare provision during periods of crisis. She has practiced architecture in the UK and worked in the housing, healthcare, and education sectors in collaboration with public authorities and established architectural practices. Prior to London, Elisavet gained experience as an architect in Athens and Madrid.


is an architect, researcher, and educator. He studied architecture in Thessaloniki, Greece, and holds an MSc from Columbia University and a PhD from TU Delft and The City as a Project research collective. He is the director of Projective Cities MPhil programme at the Architectural Association, where he is also teaching Diploma Unit 7 with Hamed Khosravi. Previously, he has taught at the Berlage Institute (Netherlands), in the MArch Urban Design programme at the Bartlett, the RCA, Syracuse University and the University of Cyprus. His research interests explore urban design and architecture in the relation to the politics of labour, economy, law and labour struggles. He has written and lectured extensively about Greek urbanisation and the politics of urban development.


is an architect and educator, and recently joined the Heinz Architectural Center at the Carnegie Museum of Art as Associate Curator. He earned his diploma of Architecture at the National Technical University of Athens and an SMarchS degree from MIT. Since 2009, he has been practicing as a founding member of Fatura Collaborative, an architecture and research collective. His PhD dissertation, “Architectures of the Humanitarian Front” (Yale University), explores the nexus of humanitarian organizations and architecture and their relation to conflict, displacement and the provision of shelter.


is an architect based in Lund, Sweden. He graduated in 2010 from the School of Architecture of the National Technical University of Athens and holds an MSc in Energy Efficient and Environmental Building Design from the School of Architecture of Lund University (2015). He has practiced architecture as a freelance architect in Greece and currently in Sweden (eg. Tengbom architects), where he works on a wide range of projects including small houses, larger residential complexes as well as care, educational and industrial facilities.


graduated in 2007 from the School of Architecture of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece. She holds the MSc in Advanced Architectural Design from GSAPP, Columbia University (2008). In June 2016, she was awarded the degree of Doctor of Philosophy by the Architectural Association. Her thesis dealt with the transition towards abstraction in art and architecture during the end of 19th and early 20th centuries, with an emphasis on interwar architectural modernism in Germany. Alexandra has been teaching at the AA since 2012, where she is currently a studio master in the First Year Studio of the Experimental Programme and a Programme Coordinator and Course tutor in the MArch Architecture & Urbanism (DRL) programme. She has practiced as an architect in New York and Athens.