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Cypriot among ‘most influential’ architects in the world

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Elena K. Tsolakis, co-founder of Kyriakos Tsolakis Architects with offices in Cyprus and the U.K., has been acknowledged as one of the most influential female architects from around the world.

Tsolaki, whose portfolio includes the national star observatory at Troodos, as well as a number of community-based concepts with an emphasis on innovation and sustainability, is featured in the Royal Institute of British Architects latest book, “100 Women: Architects in Practice”, which will be launched in New York on February 8.

The book celebrates the most influential present-day architects and highlights the difference that exemplary architecture can have on the world around us.

The publishers said it shines a light on both Tsolakis’ and other female architects’ important contributions in a field traditionally dominated by men. Tsolakis’ inclusion in this prestigious compilation stands as a beacon of inspiration for women in leadership and the general public, showcasing the vital role women play in shaping our built environment for the better.

“Over the past decade, awareness of the need for gender balance in architecture has gained traction. Within the profession, women remain underrepresented, underpromoted and underpaid.

“In this latest publication from RIBA, women’s contribution to the built environment is rightly acknowledged and celebrated. “100 Women: Architects in Practice” is a rich, diverse, and fascinating survey of exceptional women architects from around the world.”

The illustrated book features a foreword by multiple award-winning Canadian-British architect Alison Brooks and celebrates the most influential architects of our day. Among them are winners of the RIBA Royal Gold Medal and many other international awards.

Multiple award winner and leading industry voice Professor Harriet Harriss, together with senior academics and writers Naomi House and Monika Parrinder and multi-award-winning architecture journalist and editor of Dezeen Tom Ravenscroft, showcase the stories of 100 women currently making their mark in the architectural world.

Positive impact

Elena, alongside her architect brother and sister Nicodemos and Cassandra, have consciously focused their studio’s work on public and cultural buildings; those that, “can have the greatest positive impact.”

Several of her studio’s projects are in remote mountainous locations.

As the RIBA book discusses by delving into Tsolakis’ national star observatory at Troodos, it is exemplary architecture that can act as a “gravitational pull” to these often forgotten regions.

Within urban environments, her work speaks to improving social equality, such as with the first purpose-built women’s shelter in Cyprus for SPAVO, a place which empowers abused women to rebuild their life.

The concept of wellness is an increasingly important exploration for the studio, with projects such as a culinary school in Moniatis, a centrepiece of the gastronmic park master plan, and the Charisma Wellness Resort in Mykonos becoming hubs for longevity and wellbeing.

Elena Tsolakis recently completed a five-year term on the board of the Electricity Authority of Cyprus and has served on the National Town Planning Council of Cyprus.

She had taken on the role of Presidential Ambassador for the Culture of Architecture and was elected twice to chair the body that facilitates the RIBA cultural outreach public programme. This body has oversight over the largest collection of architectural “objects” in the world valued at over £250 mln and includes four million items in the British Architectural Library and the Victoria & Albert Museum

Observatory to open in summer

Construction of the €1.4 mln Star Wars-inspired Troodos observatory, the first of its kind on the island, is expected to be completed by summer.

The ultra-modern astronomical centre will be interconnected with other European institutions as part of an observatory network, attracting astronomers, observers, scholars, researchers, and astronomy enthusiasts worldwide.

The building will have two main telescopes, a 20-inch Astronomical Observatory Telescope with a mechanically rotating domed roof and a Solar Observatory Telescope for daytime use with a specially designed mechanically moving roof.

During some evenings, the building will be accessible to the public to bring their telescopes on to the Astromarina, a telescope platform for stargazing and other events.

The project is part of GEOSTARS, co-financed by the European Union (ERDF) and by the National Funds of Greece and Cyprus.