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RESTORATION & INFRASTRUCTURE FOR THE
"VIGLES" WATCHTOWERS, CHIOS ISLAND

The Watchtower of Chios are cylindrical fortified watchtowers that form a coastal lookout and signalling network as part of the defensive system of the island that developed during the period of Genoese rule (1346-1564). They are sited at points that command a complete view over the coast of the island, with particular attention paid to bays suitable for anchorage or landing.
The study proposes the restoration of four watchtowers (of the twenty-four that have been declared listed monuments by the Ministry of Culture), and the construction of an infrastructure to enable them to be opened to the public.
The rationale of the study is that, in order to form a complete idea of how this unusual ‘telecommunications’ system worked, visitors should first pass through a semi-outdoor permanent display devoted to the history of the monuments, and should then ascend the watchtower. The flat roof of the tower commands a view over the coast of the island, revealing how watch was kept over the sea.
Entrance to the towers, which was by way of rope-ladders at the time they were in operation, is now by way of elevators that are ‘buried’ in the ground so as not to detract from the image of the monument. A study has been prepared for wooden decks to be laid inside and on the flat roofs of the towers, which define the area on which visitors may walk and stand, some distance away from the authentic floors.
Small amphitheatres facing the towers have been designed in combination with the semi-outdoor displays. It was considered vital to support minor cultural events as part of the development of a dynamic network to attract tourism.

1998

client
Chios island Prefecture
architects
Yannis Kizis - Andronikos Tsigkounis
project team 
Y. Kizis, A. Tsigkounis, M. Vournous,
N. Venianakis