Behind every building or design by Aris Konstantinidis was his theory of the illustrious Life Vessels and the unbreakble continuum of house architecture in Greece, from the ancient times to the present day.
So far, this is the only documentary I have made about an architect. This film was shot in a period, during which I was working so intensively, that I have difficulty comprehending myself, now.
That was the reason I did not make more episodes in the series, something that also happened with other series I worked for, at the time.
But I wanted a part in this series. I also wanted to get a chance to work with producer Nikos Tamiolakis and I asked him to give me just one episode and if possible, for it to be the one on Aris Konstantinidis.
Out of an inevitable professional obsession or perhaps a creative ego, which I consider necessary in certain cases, whenever I had only one episode in a series, I aimed higher, in respect of quality and originality.
In the case of Konstantinidis, dozens of books, studies and tributes had been written and two very good television documentaries had already been made. The first one was filmed in the 1980s by Thanos Anastopoulos, with the architect’s participation, and the other one had been made by Apostolos Karakasis a few years before I filmed mine. So, in effect, anything biographical had already been done.
What I had to do was make a post-biographical documentary on Konstantinidis.
Together with Giorgos Tzirtzilakis, the series’ scientific adviser as well as its host, an architect and university professor himself, we made the decision that it was not going to be a documentary memoir.
Instead, it would draw attention to Konstantinidis’ model concept, which was the so-called ‘Life Vessels’, a typology, he claimed that had originated in antiquity and had gone on until the present day, and which was in harmony with Greek light and Greek landscape.
It consisted of a building, a shed (for protection against the hot sun) and a terrace.
It was decided to use his designs, as well as the magnificent photos, he was accustomed to taking over the years, and trace how his illustrious Life Vessels had been a part of the everyday life of common people right up to our times.
Additionally, we explored how they became the basis for his famous Xenia hotels, that had been built all over Greece.
I looked for and located, with the contribution of Nikos Mitrogiannopoulos, amateur super 8mm films of the 50s and 60s in Greece, which were demonstrative of Konstantinidis’ theory. Furthermore, we obtained archival footage, from the documentary by Thanos Anastopoulos, of Konstantinidis talking.
All that was used in conjunction with the only interview we had shot of Konstantinidis’ and Natalia Mela’s son, who was also an architect, as well as with a very interesting tour around various spots in Attica, guided and analyzed by Giorgos Tzirtzilakis, where we discovered live paradigms of life vessels; all of which form a stimulating and entirely original composition about the ideas and the work of Aris Konstantinidis.
I am very pleased with the result.