Carlo Aymonino

       It is true that architects move around a lot. They build in many places and leave signs of their work here and there. But Panos Koulermos is different, because his work is rooted in every place he has been involved with. He leaves disciples and often buildings behind.
       If we look in particular at his mature projects, we can see that the plans are always calm and controlled, logical and consequential. Open and enclosed spaces are well articulated and beautifully proportioned. The elevations are considerably more complex. They are not simple projections of the plans, but visual panoramas generated by an interplay of elements and plans at different levels. Two recent designs, the Nursery School in Los Angeles and the Greek Pavilion at the 1991 Venice Biennale, illustrate this well.In both cases the plan is rich but extremely ordered, while the elevations, and the formal expressions in general, are strong and fascinating, forcing us to read all the parts that constitute the overall design.
       Koulermos’ work acknowledges that not everything can be new every time. In some projects in Greece and California, certain design resolutions and forms are used in anticipation of future development or adaptation: the rotate square, the slab block that completes the composition, and the diverse structural systems drawn from elegant and appropriate models.
        I am reminded of some other friends of the same generation, Constantino Dardi and Gustav Peichl. Though very different to each other and to Panos, they nevertheless operate in the same free manner within the established modern and contemporary tradition where the old masters form the base and they are the new generation. Their work is also new and 'orderly' at first glance, but, looking deeper, it reveals itself as exhilarating and full of surprises. Koulermos may make reference to the old masters of Modernism - sometimes he evokes Kahn in the organisation of bays or the use of irregularity within a regular framework - but his buildings are essentially the product of his own energy, his own talent for innovation.
       Koulermos has learned from the way the ancient Greeks integrated the built space into the landscape. His work relates to the context of a place, to its history and geography, in much the same spirit as Palladio’s villas relate to the Veneto landscape, or Béla Bartók’s piano pieces relate to Hungarian popular music.
       In Crete, Koulermos has recently had the opportunity to build a number of projects for university facilities, which represent a summation of his work to date. These interventions are not tied together by formal similarities or a partially repeated architectural language, but are independent buildings, distinguished by their location and context and, above all, by their identifiably different conceptual aims. The design of the first complex, the Research Centre of Crete, is based on an axial organisation of three highly differentiated buildings, which are combined to form a larger composition with a compact and articulated plan that generates an equally differentiated volumetric expression. The project for the Foundation of Research and Technology, on the other hand, is a much more linear design - a real 'slice of the city' within the new campus.
       This book presents an extensive documentation of the work of Panos Koulermos over the past fifteen years. But it could also be considered as a testimony to his future work, for he is constantly developing his experience. Everything he does builds on what has gone before.