Cafebabel Greece launches a debate on the arcitecture and the city planning of Athens together with reports and articles of interesting sites to support their action (such as atenistas.gr). Our goal is to utilize international experience and make suggestions for the future of the city
Iasonos street, Metaxourgeion
An increasing number of ordinary people with love for the city oftenly ask me, why we do not rebuilt 5-10 large neoclassical buildings of Athens which were destroyed by the time we were foolish...? The question faces a range of practical difficulties, but mainly the well-established notion that the future is a one way road for Athens.The "one way" is supported by a network of agents. The training of architects, the skills of technical staff, the purchase of materials, but above all, the perception that supports the revival of some individual buildings as historicism. Such a policy is regressive, outdated, erroneous and spurious according to that view. Curiously, in Athens (as in all urban centers in the country) we keep following the same failed formula of building. This formula unfortunately made Greece notorious for its architectural quality of the urban environment.The architects of New Urbanism, the school of thought that supports eco-friendly materials, soft scales and classical morphologies have been widely spread in the U.S. and Britain (and elsewhere of course). Also, they have many enemies, especially those in the "establishment" of modernism. In Greece, reconstruction examples from other countries (Germany, Poland, USA, etc.) do not have great visibility while the regeneration of Warsaw in the 60s and 70s contributes to the current tourism of the city. The reconstruction of Dresden, after 1990 and again put the city in the economic and tourist map of Europe.Athens suffers from a lack of desire for a deep landscaping. This process runs only on the restoration of some emblematic buildings of neoclassicism and the challenge of good, new architecture in the suburbs (even with skyscrapers). The cleaning of the city from the evil buildings would have a huge return, would bring money and tourists. Currently, Athens is one victim of herself and those who hold captive a linear aesthetic and functional model.Nikos Vatopoulos ** Nikos Vatopoulos is a journalist in «KATHIMERINI».