0136 Through the Lens of Sigfried Giedion

Exploring Modernism and the Greek Vernacular in situ

  • Matina Kousidi (Author)
    Department of Architecture & Urban Studies, Politecnico di Milano

    Matina Kousidi currently works as a Research Associate at the Department of Architecture & Urban Studies at the Politecnico di Milano. Prior to this, she was an academic guest at the Chair for the Theory of Architecture (Prof. Dr. Laurent Stalder) at the Institute for the History and Theory of Architecture gta at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zürich. Previously, she was the recipient of a German Academic Exchange postdoctoral scholarship which allowed her to conduct research from within Humboldt University of Berlin and teach at the Master’s in Architecture program of Dessau Institute of Architecture. Dr. Kousidi is a registered architect engineer in the EU and was conferred her Ph.D. in Architecture at Sapienza University of Rome.

Identifiers (Article)


Focusing on Sigfried Giedion's initial visit to Greece, in the scope of CIAM IV, this study explores his approach to the myth of the Mediterranean as a germ of Western modernist architecture. Through a closer look at Giedion's photographic and literary lenses, it mainly considers his appreciation of early manifestations of modernity in the extended area of Athens, namely the Villa Fakidis (1932-1933) and Kalisperi Primary School (1931). Their apposition to the ancient and vernacular Greek architecture generates a dynamic discourse between areas and eras, while serving as a pivotal catalyst for the discussion of contextualization, immutability and identity – areas that are also comprised by the Modern Movement. This article thus discusses Giedion's reflection on a reciprocal relationship between Greece and the Western world, at a time when the former was striving to define its architectural identity.


Sigfried Giedion, CIAM IV, Greek architecture, Mediterranean vernacular, Modern Movement, Photography, 1930s