In place | On the road



In place | On the road



In place | On the road



In place | On the road



In place | On the road



In place | On the road



In place | On the road



In place | On the road


Kalderimi X2 | 2month apprenticeship and 12days workshop in Plaka, Tzoumerka (Epirus, Greece)

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Craftsmen, engineers and artists, students, academics and professionals from Greece and the Balkans, meet at the old cobbled pathway that leads to the bridge of Plaka.

  • Craftsmen apprenticeship   –   Plaka Camp: 9/9 – 31/10    2 months of work and training on the traditional craft of the “kalderimi”
  • Stone Masonry Workshop   –   Plaka Workshop: 16 – 27 /10   12 days of practice and theory on stone building


This project consists in the restoration of the old cobbled pathway that leads to the Plaka Bridge. The works will take place during the autumn of 2019, while in the same time, the reconstruction of the bridge itself will be reaching completion. The cobbled pathway, which is 400m long and was partially reconditioned during the last year’s Stone Masonry Workshop, has suffered major alterations and severe damages during the past decades, and has been largely forgotten in favor of a recently constructed path, stretching across the bank of Arachthos River. If the above describe the troublesome nature of the present condition, they also imply our project’s deliverables: the old cobbled pathway, fully functional, in its authentic form.


The emphasis on the educational process and the need to complete the project in time, led us to the combination of two different approaches and two different scales of operation. Namely:

  • A two-month apprenticeship (Plaka Camp), addressed to young professionals of the building sector, who will be working under the guidance of three experienced masons—tutors, and will receive daily compensation.
  • An intensive twelve-day workshop (Plaka Workshop) which aims at a wider audience (engineers and artists, students and professionals), which will be held during the last two weeks of the Plaka Camp.

The Municipality of North Tzoumerka, the Technical Chamber of Greece (TEE-TCG) and the Western Macedonia Department of the TCG, stand as co-organizers of this project, which is officially supported by the Metsovion Interdisciplinary Research Center (MIRC) of the National Technical University of Athens (NTUA).

(A) Two-month apprenticeship – Plaka Camp

For the extensive two-month apprenticeship, nine (9) positions are opened, for professionals under the age of 45 years: six (6) of these positions are to be occupied by craftsmen who are presently active in the region of Epirus, and three (3) are earmarked for professionals from other Balkan countries. The trainees will be provided accommodation near the working site and a compensation of 30 euros per day (1050 euros in total net salary).

The selection criteria can be described as follows:

  • MOTIVE OF PARTICIPATION and LEVEL OF ENGAGEMENT. The two-month apprenticeship refers solely to professional craftsmen who are already involved in the construction field.
  • The professional experience on stone structures and traditional building techniques will be taken into account, as well as any participation in similar workshops and trainings.
  • The trainees must be under 45 years of age
  • This call is addressed to craftsmen from all over Greece and the Balkans; although, concerning the six (6) positions for Greek participants, priority will be given to local residents of Tzoumerka and the broader region of Epirus.

Trainees will be distributed along the old pathway into three working groups (of three members), each team working under the supervision of one experienced mason—tutor, who will be in charge. The construction and training process will be headed by Kostas Tarnanas from Pentalofos (Kozani, Greece), one of the most renowned stone masons in Greece; while next to him will be the highly experienced stone—masons Yorgos Anastasiadis from Amygdaleonas (Kavala, Greece) and Dimitris Fotis from Koukoulia (Epirus, Greece).

(B) Twelve-day stone masonry workshop – Plaka Workshop

For the twelve-day stone masonry workshop, twenty seven (27) positions are opened, for participants from Greece and abroad (students and professionals, engineers, researchers, artists). Nine (9) of these positions will be offered to participants from Slovenia, Croatia, Albania, Macedonia, Bulgaria, Romania, Serbia, Montenegro, Bosnia-Herzegovina) with a full scholarship. These nine places are funded by The Headley Trust.

  • 18 participants from Greece and abroad
  • 9 participants from Balkan countries

Moreover, three (3) places for volunteers are opened. Volunteers will be provided room and board (breakfast, elevenses and two meals) for the twelve days of the Stone Masonry Workshop. More specifically, Boulouki calls for two (2) prefects and one (1) interpreter (Greek—English), to assist in the implementation of the project on the field, as well as in lectures, cultural activities and excursions. The knowledge of both English and Greek is considered necessary for all three positions, while the knowledge of other languages will be taken into account. As a necessary precondition for applying for a volunteer position, is having attended a Boulouki workshop in the past.

  • 2 volunteers from Greece (one interpreter and one prefect position)
  • 1 volunteer from the Balkans (one prefect position)

During these twelve days, participants will be distributed in the three working groups which will already be on the field and work alongside the nine professional apprentices, under the guidance of the masons—tutors. Also, during this time, trainees of both programs will have the chance to be introduced in various approaches of craftsmanship as a distinct and multifaceted form of knowledge, through lectures of practical and theoretical content, delivered by respected academics and renowned professionals from the fields of construction and restoration; as well as through visits at historic places, practical demonstrations and cultural activities. Among the distinguished lecturers who will honor us with their presence are:

  • Manolis Korres, Emeritus Professor in History of Architecture in the NTUA
  • Panagiotis Touliatos, Emeritus Professor of the National Technical University of Athens, Professor and President of the Department of Architecture, University of Frederick
  • Vasilis Ganiatsas, Professor in architectural design & theory of architecture, director of Architectural Form and Orders Lab in the NTUA
  • Yorgos Smiris, assistant Professor in history of architecture in the University of Ioannina
  • Vasilios Melfos, associate Professor in Economic Geology-Geochemistry in the AUTH
  • Nikos Katsoulakos, PhD Mechanical Engineer, Post-doctoral researcher M.I.R.C.
  • Aeneas Oikonomou, PhD Architect
  • Maria Mpalodimou, Architect MSc, PhD candidate NTUA
  • Christos Giannelos, Civil Engineer MSc, PhD Candidate NTUA
  • Christos Takos, Architect MSc
  • Panagiota Andrianopoulou, Ethnologist – Head of Collections, Research and Documentation of Folk Art, Museum of Modern Greek Culture, UNESCO ICH Facilitator

We are also particularly pleased to announce that David Baxter (European Projects Director of the Institute of Historic Building Conservation, IHBC) will be one of our main collaborators during the full length of the twelve–day workshop, sharing his knowledge and experience in heritage management through the teaching of traditional building craft skills, in the repair and maintenance of historic buildings. Furthermore, we are thrilled to announce that the great sculptor and Professor Emeritus at the Athens School of Fine Arts (ASFA) Theodoros Papagianis, has agreed to contribute in the renovation of the old pathway, by carving a limited number of stones, with references to symbolic forms of the building tradition of Epirus, to be embedded in selected places in the new ‘kalderimi’.

Detail from the floor of the courtyard at the Panagia Tsouka Monastery in Ioannina region


One of the main goals of this educational action is to re-introduce Greek and Balkan craftsmen to the –more or less– forgotten traditional technique of ‘kalderimi’ and to engage with a gap of knowledge that has already cost dearly to the traditional settlements of Epirus and the historic ensembles of Balkans in general. It could be stated here, that contemporary attempts of external paving in such environments, are good examples of how ignorance and disregard around the specific elements that constitute the traditional techniques, have often resulted in small or bigger ‘crimes’ in many vernacular settlements. It is therefore understood that ‘investing’ in the retrieval of this knowledge by the very people who live and work in these settlements is an important first step towards the reversal of this trend.

Kostas Tarnanas (on the left) and Pavlos Vihas (on the right) during the last year’s stone masonry workshop “Boulouki at the Bridge”

Of course, what is here described as an ‘authentic kalderimi’ goes beyond a strictly technical analysis; nevertheless, specific observations on particular matters seem to be the safest points of departure for a careful approach of traditional knowledge, as well as to address the complex prospects and challenges posed by traditional cultural landscapes in general. In this sense, the ‘authentic kalderimi’ can be seen as a technical matter, as well as a cultural artifact and a ‘mode’ to be investigated and interpreted. This is the reason why the co-existence of masons and apprentices, engineers, researchers and academics on the field is so important. Through such gatherings we believe that a retrieval of traditional knowledge is indeed possible, starting with the audiences responsible to identify and respect such knowledge; share it and contribute to its further development.



The dynamics developed between organizers and tutors, participants and the local society, during the Stone Masonry Workshop of the last summer, played a significant role in our decision to return to Plaka this year. In this context it is that we understand the demand for a full restoration of the old pathway, as it was spontaneously expressed from the local community. From our point of view, we felt that responding to this request may strengthen the trust of local societies (of Plaka and Tzoumerka in general) in similar initiatives of protection, preservation and enhancement of cultural heritage. In the same time, the full reconditioning of the old pathway describes the scale and level of integration that our team considers necessary, in order to achieve a satisfactory impact on the built environment and the everyday life of local communities. Furthermore we felt it appropriate to draw from our experience of the area and build upon the relations developed with craftsmen, local stakeholders and the Municipality of North Tzoumerka, who once again support our effort.


As it has already been mentioned, an important aspect of this project, is its tuning with the reconstruction works of the Plaka Bridge, which are expected to be coming to a conclusion by the end of October 2019. Apart from its symbolic dimension, this conjuncture has a particular educational value, as it presents us with the opportunity to visit and examine a unique working site, since this is the largest stone building endeavor that has taken place in Greece, for the last many decades; while until its collapse in February 2015, the bridge of Plaka was the largest one-arched bridge of the entire Balkan area.

Furthermore, we believe that the reconstruction of this historical landmark is a first class opportunity to open up the debate around the issues of traditional building techniques, not just as part of the discipline of restoration, but as a broad professional field and a living practice, able to find its place among contemporary practices of building.

ALLTOGETHER, Kalderimi X2 will take place from 9 September until 31 October 2019. As mentioned above, the program includes the training of nine (9) young professionals who will work in three groups, each in different part of the pathway, under the guidance of an experienced mason—tutor. These three crews will be on the site for nearly two months and will carry out the largest part of the work. Nevertheless, the meeting of these crews with the twenty-seven (27) participants of the twelve-day stone masonry workshop that will take place between 16–27 October 2019, is expected to be of particular significance, both in terms of practical results and educational value. Placed in the last two weeks of October, this workshop will close the circle of the two-month camp and in the same time, open up its doors to a much wider public, providing an open platform, to host the dialogue around the prospects and challenges of cultural heritage. In this direction, our team has composed a detailed program which will be gradually presented as the opening of the Plaka Workshop will be approaching.

In this effort we are excited to have on our side the Municipality of North Tzoumerka, the Technical Chamber of Greece and the Western Macedonia Department of the TCG, as co-organizers of this action. As already mentioned, the support of the Headley Trust has been of major significance, and we will be honored to host its members for the closing of the works, at the end of October. In the same time, we are still in search of partners in order to complete this endeavor in the best possible terms.

In addition, we have tried to strengthen our relationships with major educational institutions of the country, such as the National Technical University of Athens, the University of Patras, the University of Ioannina; as well as with relevant organizations from Greece and abroad, such as the Swedish NGO ‘Cultural Heritage without Borders’, team ‘Dragodid’ from Croatia, and the association ‘Anthi tis Petras’, from Lagadia (Arcadia, Greece), in an effort to maintain a high level of diversity and interdisciplinarity in our approach.

We sincerely believe that through such procedures, new craftsmen can come to the forefront, as well as new engineers; showing their skills clearly and in practice, while opening the way for a different understanding of traditional building. In the same time, activating a series of local bodies (such as local administration and local companies), seems to also have a pedagogical role, in the sense of raising awareness around alternative models of growth and heritage management. This kind of integration is considered as a key for the viability of such projects, pushing the sides involved in taking action, drafting proposals and seeking solutions for the enhancement of a heritage that not only needs ‘not to be lost’, but also seems to carry a lot of the answers that are missing today.

In this direction it is that we designed the restoration of the old pathway that leads to the Plaka Bridge, through two superposed workshops; and we call those interested to register for participation.


2month craftsmen apprenticeship | Plaka Camp

  • 9 September — 31 October 2019
  • Monday — Friday, 08:00 – 16:00
  • Accommodation Included
  • Compensation of 30 euros / day
  • Full attendance of the 12day workshop
  • Applications deadline: 22 August 2019


12day stone masonry workshop | Plaka Workshop

  • 16 — 27 October 2019
  • 18 participants from Greece and abroad
  • 9 participants from Balkan countries
  • Participation fee (including room and half board )
    • 500 euros
    • 350 euros, for students and unemployed
  • 2 volunteers from Greece (one interpreter + one prefect position)
  • 1 volunteer from the Balkans (prefect position)
  • Application deadline 8 September 2019



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‘Boulouki’ Itinerant Workshop for the Traditional Building Techniques presents the educational program

places of protection, grounds of freedom 

which will be held in the mountainous region of Tzoumerka between the 1st-6th of May 2019.

Melissourgoi mountain refuge, at 1023 m.
Pramanta mountain refuge, at 1300 m.

The program consists of two 6-day long workshops, which will take place simultaneously, at the Mountain Refuge of Melissourgoi and the Mountain Refuge of Pramanta, each one focusing on different materials and building techniques.

By virtue of both their proximity and distance from the fragile environment of the traditional settlements, the shelters’ space seems to be urging one’s ‘building’ imagination towards creative adaptations of the tradition. On the one hand, the adjacency to the settlements -which stand as repositories of a long building experience- allows us to reflect on the significance of architectural types, as formal structures and as carriers of multiple layers of knowledge and meaning. On the other hand, the distance from those great ‘teachers’, invites us to ‘play’ and imagine the ways through which the traditional techniques, the natural materials and the unmediated relation to the actual work, could be identified today and express our current complex and contradictory needs and desires.

In this manner ‘Shelters’ are introduced as places of protection as well as grounds of a certain freedom. During our stay, we will attempt to trace contemporary interpretations of tradition’s teachings, by engaging with two experimental constructions. Within this framework, those willing to participate are asked to choose between two topics, concerning the practical part of the workshops:

A) STONE – CLAY: Rearranging the traditional wood-fired oven
Drawing from the traditional typology, and also from contemporary adaptations, the new wood-fired oven of the Melissourgoi Shelter will be constructed with local stone, as well as, fired clay bricks and mud plasters for the dome. The local stone mason Pavlos Vihas and the earth construction specialist, Christos Kiriakogonas (member of Natural Building Collaborative), will be instructors during the building process.

B) WOOD: Introducing a treehouse in Tzoumerka
The treehouse, which the family running the Shelter of Pramanta is longing for, will be constructed entirely out of wooden parts using traditional joints. The building process will be led by Tryfonas Papaioannou, a local carpenter from the village of Kypseli and the architect-carpenter Giorgos Karvelas.

In parallel to the practical part of the workshop, the program will be supported by a series of lectures of technical and theoretical content by acknowledged academics and professionals, amongst them there will be Simeon Agathopoulos (professor, Dept. of Materials Science and Engineering, University of Ioannina), Maria Arakadaki (associate professor, Department of Architecture, AUTH), Stavros Apotsos (PhD candidate, Department of Architecture, AUTH) Giorgos Karvelas (architect-carpenter, former lecturer in University of Patras and TEI of Athens), Giorgos Mantanis (professor, Dept. of Wood & Furniture Design and Technology, TEI of Thessaly), Tzortzis Makrionitis (chemist, independent researcher of traditional wood-fired ovens) and Eleftheria Tsakanika (assistant professor, School of Architecture, NTUA). The lectures will be held at the Pramanta Conference Centre and at a community space of Melissourgoi village; They will be attended by participants of both workshops and will be open to the public.

Additionally, there will be talks and presentations by collectives and individuals involved in projects around construction and the commons, such as p2p lab, Habibi Works, ARMOS-Natural Building Collaborative, Georgia Kanellopoulou (Dafni Network) and people from the local community with important artistic work, like Giorgos Polyzos from the village of Tsopela.

Archive photograph of masons

The ‘Shelters’ workshops are addressed to professionals from the construction field and researchers from fields relevant to the production of space, who are willing to deepen their knowledge concerning wooden structures, building with stone and earth· as well as to everyone with keen interest in approaching the cultural heritage from the aspect of everyday practices and traditional techniques.

The maximum number of participants is 14 for each workshop.
Certificates of participation will be given, by the end of the workshop.

Participation fees
Τhe fee is fixed at 350€, including:

  • Participation in the workshop
  • Accommodation in the refuges for 7 nights
  • Breakfast and one full meal for all days.

The participants are responsible for travel and other personal expenses.

How to Apply
Apply by filling the following form and send it via email to by March 24th 2019 (In order to fill the form you will need Foxit or Acrobat Reader).

Important Dates
24 March 2019  Deadline for applications
31 March 2019   Selection of participants and confirmation of attendance
1-6 May 2019     Workshop Duration

Boulouki at the Bridge – a review

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“But even if stones are movable, relationships established between stones and men are not so easily altered. . (…) Now suppose these houses and streets are demolished or their appearance and layout are altered. The stones and other materials will not object, but the groups will. This resistance, if not in the stones themselves, at least arises out of their long-standing relationships with these groups.”
Maurice Halbwachs, The Collective Memory

The twelve-day Stone Masonry Workshop “Boulouki at the Bridge” was held at the village of Plaka in Tzoumerka, between the 20th and 31st of August 2018. “Boulouki” team, in collaboration with the Metsovion Interdisciplinary Research Center (M.I.R.C.) and the Municipality of North Tzoumerka, under the aegis of the Region of Epirus, organised this workshop, whose scope was to bring together young professionals from fields related to the built environment (craftsmen, engineers, artists) in a systematic approach of the traditional knowledge concerning stone. At the same time, in more general terms, the intention of the workshop is to contribute to the study of the traditional building techniques as a current gnostic field, orientated -apart from the conservation and documentation- towards their integration into  the contemporary practices.

Prompted by the historic Plaka Bridge, whose presence is a characteristic attribute of the area, the workshop focused on the three basic structural parts of a stone bridge: the arch, the wall and the cobbled walking path, which respond to three different building techniques, that are, also, to be found in more vernacular structures and building types, other than bridges.

Experienced and acknowledged masons from the area of Tzoumerka were the leaders of the practical training. Christos Tsekas from Raftanaioi, Pavlos Vichas from Ktistades, Kostas Pliakopanos from Monolithi, Charis Mpoumpougiannis from Michalitsi, Giorgos Triantafyllos from Graikiko, Dimitris and Kostas Photis from Koukoulia, Nikos Manthos from Platanousa and Dimitris Georgoulis from Chouliarades, as well as Kostas Tarnanas, who came from Pentalofo of Kozani, were our collaborators. While, Kostas Stavroulas from Pramanta, Charilaos Koniaris from Michalitsi, Giorgos Merantzas from Tsopela, Christos Mpriasoulis from Ktistades and more, demonstrated their art, being some of the most experienced older local masons to be alive today.

The teaching of and practice on these three techniques was the main focus of the workshop. The works took place along the old pathway which leads to the historic bridge. Our goal concerning the practical training was to restore the pathway according to the original structure, which was to be found at only some parts. From another point of view, having chosen the pathway as the backbone of the workshop, we attempted to engage with the “structure of the place”; through which and “on which” we decided to create a project, whose requirements would set the pace of our work, a project according to which we would judge the results of our efforts and which we would finally hand in to the place and its people.

In this direction, the preparation and the cleaning up of part of the pathway, was attempted to happen in the form of a mintati, meaning with the participation of the local community. Mintati is a word -between others in Epirus and the rest of Greece-, which referes to the practices of mutual support through which the local communities used to respond collectively to the individual needs of their members. After the work area was cleaned and prepared, it was divided into three parts, each one of which was dedicated to one of the three different techniques. In this manner, and while the participants were working under the instructions of the masons for two days on each one, some destroyed parts of the existing walls were restored, as well as part of the traditional cobbled pathway, while a newer temporary structure, which allowed the water flow towards the fields, was replaced with a small arched bridge.

Futhermore, the workshop’s program was supported by a series of lectures of theoretical and technical content, given by acclaimed scholars and professionals from the fields of restoration and cultural management. The lectures were scheduled to take place on the first and last days of the workshop and were held at the cultural space of the Mouhousti Monastery.

The talks, which are presented here in short, are just an indication of the variety of issues that were discussed and of the diverse backgrounds of our collaborators.

D. Kaliampakos, professor at the Department of Mining and Metallurgical Engineering of NTUA and Director of M.I.R.C., gave a talk on the research concerning the development of mountain regions, which is, also, the objective of the relevant master’s program of the NTUA, and about the critical decisions that had to be made for the restoration of the Plaka Bridge by the team of scientists in charge. S.Mamaloukos, associate professor of Architectural History at the University of Patras, made an in depth presentation of the role of stonework in vernacular architecture, using examples from all over Greece. He was, also, our main guide during the trip we did on the same day to places of cultural and architectonic interest, like the Politsa bridge and the settlements of Pramanta, Melisourgoi and Fortosi. G.Smyris, assistant professor of Architectural History at the University of Ioannina, dedicated one of his talks in the importance of knowing a place and its local materials, as a means to avoid the pathogenies that characterise the greek built environment today. In the other, he presented the first phase of the construction process of the new foundations of the Plaka Bridge, from a constructional and organisational standpoint, since he was the head engineer of the works. D.Baxter, European Projects Director of the Institute of Historic Building Conservation (IHBC), talked about the mechanics of arched structures and described the ongoing initiative to restore the Bánffy Castle in Romania, while training students and local craftsmen. On the next day, he gave two talks about the properties of lime and lime mortars and coordinated a demonstration of the hydration process of lime and the preparation of various mortars. Representatives of the Eco-museum Zagori presented their work, and more specifically referred to the acknowledgement of dry stone landscapes as cultural landscapes and their promotion as cultural routes. Lastly, the first series of lectures ended with a talk by Th.Papagiannis, a sculptor and emeritus professor of sculpture at the ASFA, with regard to the role that his experience of working with stone masons played in his work, and focused on the masons’ world in general, as a universe of qualities that constitute a source of inspiration and direction for the contemporary practice. He also, welcomed and gave a tour to the participants who visited the Museum of Contemporary Art that is named after him, in Elliniko village. On the same day we visited the Monastery of Tsouka, one of the most important monasteries of Epirus that was built in 1190 A.D.

On Friday the 31st of August, and after wrapping up the works on site the day before, the workshop returned to the Mouhousti Monastery. E.Mamani, an architect and vice director of the Albanian department of the international organisation Cultural Heritage without Borders, presented the organisation’s activities of the last couple of decades around the Balkan area and explained the ways through which cultural heritage can become a platform of sustainable development for the local communities. V.Gkaniatsas, professor of Architectural design and History & Theory of Architecture in NTUA, gave a talk on craftsmanship as a distinctive kind of knowledge, while thoroughly developing the philosophic-epistemic approaches that support this concept. V.Nitsiakos, professor of Folklore studies at the Department of History and Archaeology of the University of Ioannina, analysed the historical appearance of masons from Epirus, as a result of the transformation of the local economy from farming self-sufficiency to technical expertise. In the end, M.Korres, emeritus professor of History of Architecture in NTUA, referred to the contribution of NTUA in the study of the restoration of the Plaka Bridge and presented a systematic review of bridges and   bridge building from the ancient times until the Renaissance. He concluded by narrating a story accompanied by original drawings and thoughts on matters of memory and place.

From our side, as a Travelling Workshop for the Traditional Building Techniques, we could say, that the reference point for this effort has been the common belief, that the traditional techniques have an important role to play in the interpretation and the dealing with the manifold crisis which characterises the greek built environment for many decades already. Although probably unnecessary, it is worth mentioning, that the focus around traditional techniques does not mean the adoption of a pictorial approach of tradition, which is in a way the other face of the abandonment of traditional settlements. Very briefly, the focus on the techniques, means an attempt to find an alternative way of thinking, a different stance against the “how”, but also the “why” of the production of space. In short, the revaluation of the knowledge of the craftsman and the investigation of the present state of being of the manual practices, automatically means the questioning of the current grid of ideas and ideals, through which our cities are built, and, which, also, support its reproduction.

While the Stone Masonry Workshop has come to an end and we, organisers and collaborators, speakers and participants, have returned home, which for most of us is an urban center, what we are confident to say is that the days by the Bridge have filled us with optimism. Since we were assured that there is actually a respectable number of people with similar ideas and expectations. From this point of view, the boulouki that was formed for those twelve days at the old pathway is a proof that there is actually an authentic, contemporary and progressive interest for the places, the local traditions and the traditional knowledge. With the people that we got to know in August and with others that we anticipate to meet in the future, we will meet again, around thοse who carry the knowledge, meaning the masons and their work.


Boulouki Team, September 2018

Stone Masonry Workshop in Tzoumerka (20-31 of August)

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We are pleased to announce our upcoming workshop on the art of stone building “Boulouki at the Bridge” and invite all interested individuals, from Greece and abroad, to apply.

The workshop will take place next to the Plaka Bridge in Tzoumerka region, (Epirus, Greece), between the 20th-31st of August 2018. It is a collaboration between Boulouki, the municipality of North Tzoumerka and the Metsovion Interdisciplinary Research Centre (M.I.R.C).

Objective of the workshop is to understand the stone construction as a whole, starting from the quarry and the extraction of the most suitable material, to the chipping of the stone and finally to the building process.

The three basic structural parts of a stone bridge (which can be also found in various different structures) will be presented and taught:

  1. The arch (using a timber formwork)
  2. The wall (dry / with mortar)
  3. The cobbled walking path

Experienced and acclaimed craftsmen from the area of Tzoumerka will teach and supervise the constructions during the workshop. Dimitris Lagos from Mihalitsi is going to be the main supervisor and will teach alongside eight more masons, including Haris Bobogiannis, Christos Tsekas, Patroklos Patsiouras and Dimitris Georgoulis.

In addition, older masons from the area of Tzoumerka, such as Yiannis Skentos from Melissourgoi, Lambros Giotis from Pramanta, Giorgos Merantzas and Sotiris Giotis from Tsopella, are going to serve as advisers, leaving pieces of their knowledge and passion for the stone masonry as a legacy to the new generation.

The workshop’s program also includes a series of lectures, focused on the theoretical and technical aspects of stone masonry, which will be given by qualified and reputable professors, such as:

  • Manolis Korres, emeritus Professor in history of architecture in the NTUA,
  • Dimitris Kaliambakos, Professor in the department of Mining and Metallurgy Engineering of NTUA and Director of the Metsovion Interdisciplinary Research Center,
  • Georgios Smyris, assistant Professor in history of architecture in the University of Ioannina,
  • Vasilis Gkaniatsas, Professor in architectural design & theory of architecture, director of Architectural Form and Orders Lab in the NTUA,
  • Elena Mamani, Architect and vice Director of Cultural Heritage without Borders in Albania,
  • Stavros Mamaloukos, assistant Professor in history of architecture in the University of Patras,
  • Theodoros Papagiannis, emeritus Professor of sculpture in the School of Fine Arts in Athens,
  • David Baxter, European Projects Director: Institute of Historic Building Conservation

The workshop is addressed to local stone masons who want to advance their skills, as well as to anybody who is interested in traditional architecture, architectural heritage and cultural management. The maximum number of participants is 16, not including the local residents.

During the workshop, issues regarding the ongoing restoration of Plaka’s stone bridge will be addressed and ideas related to the monument’s construction process and management will be discussed.

Also, the program includes an arranged visit at sites of cultural and architectural significance, as well as cultural initiatives in collaboration with the local community. The workshop will end with a general review and the awarding of the certifications to the participants.


The fee covers tuition, accommodation with breakfast in a hotel, a snack during the work-hours, workshop materials and tools, health and accident insurance and excursion travel expenses. Participants will be responsible for paying the arrival and departure expenses to and from the location of the Workshop, as well as any other personal expenses.

Participation Fees:                                        350 €

Reduced Fees for students/unemployed:    200 €

Free for the local residents of Tzoumerka region

How to Apply

Download the application form here, fill it out and send it via email to till June 10th 2018. (To fill the form you need Foxit or Acrobat Reader)

Important Dates

17 June 2018              Deadline for applications

22 June 2018              Selection of the participants and confirmation of attendance              

20-31 August 2018    Workshop in Tzoumerka

Stone Masonry Workshop Proposal

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Stone, being the main building material of Tzoumerka region, crafted a unique particular built environment, which extends beyond the renowned settlement boundaries, comprising a coherent mountain landscape with a strong sense of place. The salient presence of stone, awakens the desire to investigate the local tangible heritage and social history, as well as the intangible heritage of the Stone Craft: the presence and practice of the stone masons and their so called Bouloukia, groups of craftsmen, and helpers who traveled while building (and vice versa), advancing their art and constructing a wide system of knowledge.

This knowledge has been tightly linked to the practice of stone masonry; given the conditions of each particular project, which also constituted an educational process. Therefore, the realisation of the project, the process of knowledge and the teaching of the art, become an inseparable whole. It is a fact that the craft is fading, being displaced by the contemporary building techniques and materials, as well as by the transformation of the economic and social terms, the very things that made it flourish once. A very important aspect of this issue, is that the stone structures themselves – documents of an era and knowledge archives are lost or degraded, after being severely altered by newer interventions.

The restoration of Plaka bridge (which is to strictly follow the traditional building methods) was the reason for us, to rake up the local knowledge and look for the last masons, who are capable and willing to share their skill, as well as the younger professionals who are currently working with stone. On this direction, Boulouki made a list of all the local craftsmen and professionals that could be found at the time around the Tzoumerka region, as an effort to map and assess the carriers of traditional knowledge. Discovering the older craftsmen, whose experience with stone masonry is in accordance with the traditional rules and ways, has been the most exciting part of the research.

Main purpose of this workshop -and also requirement for its success- is the connection with the local community; with its current affairs, its needs and symbolic references. Within this context, an association with the Plaka bridge and its restoration is pursued. The workshop is proposed to take place adjacent to the bridge. The practical part aims at shedding light on every step of the building process, starting from the selection of suitable material and its extraction from the quarry, to the hewing and chipping of the stone and the building techniques. More specifically, the focus will be on the three constructional elements of a traditional stone bridge, i.e. the building of the arch with the help of a formwork, the building of a wall and the construction of the cobbled passage.

At the same time, a series of theoretical and technical lectures by acknowledged academics will take place, supporting the practical part. The workshop is addressed to local stone masons – who will be invited to participate without a fee, but also to individuals, who are interested in traditional architecture, architectural heritage and cultural heritage management. Following the open call, 16 participants will be chosen. Additionally, during the workshop, subjects regarding the promotion and prominence of the monument and restoration site, as well as the landscaping of the surrounding area and improving the access to the monument will be discussed.  The ideas and proposals that might emerge, will be presented by the participants at the end of the workshop and will be submitted to the stakeholders.

Furthermore, the workshop is proposed to serve as a motive for young professionals and researchers from all around Greece and abroad, to get in touch with other aspects of the local traditions. Visits to sites of cultural interest and interaction with the activities of local communities is suggested towards this direction. Besides, the cultural association of Prosilio has already offered to include a screening within the workshop area, during their annual summer film festival.

Another objective of the workshop is to contribute to the mobilisation and preparation of the local human resources, considering the upcoming restoration, in order to make the best of the multiple opportunities that an occasion of such importance has to offer. In other words, apart from the unique opportunity to showcase the art of stone masonry, the restoration project offers a fruitful ground for the stimulation of the local community and the beginning of a discussion concerning the needs and development prospects of the region. From this point of view, the restoration site of the bridge can become the meeting place for craftsmen and academics, students, local residents and bodies, making this attempt a communal acquisition of many different groups.

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