Which of the two should be respected most: the architectural legacy of Athens or the optical contact between the exhibits and the Parthenon?
The last decades, Athens has lost an important part of its aesthetics, while its architectural style has been significantly altered. The marginal interest shown by the state all these years for many of the magnificent neoclassical buildings that once embellished the city of Athens, resulted to the collapse of many of these buildings, due to time erosion. In other cases, they were demolished in order that bigger, more modern buildings take their place. These new buildings were however of no architectural interest and surely did not embellish Attica landscape.
Before the Olympic Games, there was an attempt to restore classical buildings in an effort to embellish the city. And I say “attempt” since, today I have the impression that Athens returns to the previous status quo, that is the unconcern for the maintenance of Athens’ architectural legacy and society’s lack of interest for the regeneration of the city through its magnificent buildings, squares and pedestrian zones, elements that constitute and reveal to a great extend the quality of life in each city.
You will tell me what this introduction has to do with this article? One of the characteristic elements of the new museum of Acropolis, as this has been designed and presented by its inspirers, is its interaction with the monument itself. The visitor will be able, parallel to the museum’s displays (from the archaeological site of the Acropolis) have an optical contact with the object, i.e. the Acropolis.
However, in front of the museum on Dionyssiou Areopagitou street three buildings have been standing since 1930, which partially obstruct this optical contact. However, according to an article of Eleftherotypia newspaper, there is no optical contact between the museum’s restaurant and the monument, while the optical contact is perfect between the glass storey with the Parthenon.
This however, is enough for someone, in order to proceed to the expropriation of the three classical buildings of Areopagitou street and as a result, of a part of Athens’ architectural heritage.
These buildings are three of the most beautiful classical buildings of Athens. Especially the first one, designed by the architect Vassilis Kouremenos, is a modern architectural work of art. Its basic traits are the relief presentation of two women in the entrance of the building and the mosaic of Oedipus, Theseus and the Sphinx on the walls.
Their knocking down, according to the article’s editor, would be erroneous, since the three classical buildings, apart from their important architectural value, are closely linked to the environment. Their knocking down would be a great mistake. Furthermore, in front of these buildings there are planes, that they might as well obstruct the view to the Parthenon. Should we “burn them down” too for the sake of view?
The Society for the Preservation of Environmental and Cultural Heritage collects signatures for the preservation of these buildings. Those who support this view, can complain to the Minister of Culture through the site www.ellinikietairia.gr