Aegina, Greece

Elia Zenghelis
Advanced Studio

For both practical and occult reasons, most Greek temples face east to utilize light from the rising sun. At night, classical ruins are lit from below. This lighting scheme signals a familiar idea of monument. But to me, these monuments are rendered unfamiliar by the orange electric lighting. The shadows are in the wrong places. It is unsettling, like a face lit from below with a flashlight during a campfire horror tale.

I wanted to design something that reversed the relationship between electric lighting and Greek temples: structures that are designed to be activated by electric light at night the same way Greek temples are activated by the sun. To translate the phenomenological experience of the Parthenon at sunrise to my project, I need to add the element of time.



Calendar began with the idea to place a spotlight above the island of Aegina programmed to turn 360-degrees over one year.

The light grazes an area of Aegina’s terrain, and its movement illustrates the time and date like the hands on a massive clock.


Four large, glass totems mark the locations on the island illuminated during the night of solstices and equinoxes, celebrating the changing of seasons. At precisely midnight, the near-perpendicular angle of incidence of the electric light lines up perfectly with the glass totem, causing it to cast its most vibrant shadow. It is like an eclipse at midnight.


Once constructed, I imagine Calendar will continue to generate activity in the light’s path. By assigning specific dates to areas of land, this project invites the residents of Aegina to imagine interventions inspired by the Greek calendar and time-based events.

Some possible futures include:


  1. A long, linear amphitheater the length of a Calendar week constructed for a theater festival in July. The spotlight provides the stage lighting.
  2. Polychromatic glass tubes built on for the annual pistachio festival in September. The tubes convert the bright white beam into a colorful light show, creating a festival ambiance.
  3. A Cypress tree planted to commemorate the date of a loved one’s death.

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