C-O Lab


type: Zen center and Hotel 

location: Kalo Ampeli_Serifos 

surface: 2500 sq.m.

status: under construction

design: C-O lab (Olga Ktenà, Elisavet Kazerou)

construction: C-O lab (Christos Siantrivanopoulos)

structural engineering: Kyriakos Zarkadis & Partners – Domostatika

E-M engineering: Christos Mpaniotopoulos

Kaisanji, the temple (ji) of the mountain (san) and the sea (kai), will be located on Serifos island, near the beach of Kalo Ambeli. The particular beauty of the natural landscape, the moderate and sparse construction rate and the unhindered view to the sea make the place ideal for the installation of a center of meditation and spiritual uplift.

Kaisanji will include places of worship, initiation of visitors into the Zen tradition and holding of ceremonies such as the Zendo, the Hato and the outdoor area of the bell. Furthermore, it will have accommodation rooms for monks (cells), accommodation for guests and a dining area. The main goal is to be an autonomous and self-sufficient center, operating as a summer accommodation in order to cover its operating costs. The dual function of the space posed the biggest challenge in the design, which combines the austerity of the zen philosophy and the requirements of a modern facility. 

The architectural design draws its influences from both the Japanese culture and tradition, as well as from the unique architecture of the island, putting emphasis on the serenity, the simplicity and the balance with nature. The intervention made was the least possible, with absolute respect for the natural landscape. In an effort to redefine the human-nature relationship, the concept uses natural elements as a design tool. The planted roofs allow for the vegetation to become a structural part of the building and be integrated with the stone walls. In addition to planting, water is another natural design tool that is found in various forms such as Lake Hato and the running ‘stream’ that follows the natural slope of the ground until it reaches the waterfall. The starting point in the path of the water is the zen garden, which, in accordance with the architectural vocabulary of the Japanese garden, combines the liquid element, the rocks and the pebbles in circular patterns. The liquid element enhances the sense of calmness that prevails, while the gentle sound from the ‘stream’ gradually and spontaneously leads the visitor from the entrance and the Hato, to the bell and the core of the monastery, the Zendo. Based on the principle of endless motion, the energy generated during the movement of running water (along with an external energy source) is reused to direct the flow back to its starting point.