A listed historical Art Deco building in Athens threatened by demolition


3/08/2007 — Heritage — Athens, Greece — Two buildings which are listed as historical monuments, one of which is a remarkable example of Art Deco style (ill. 1 to 3) by Vassilis Kouremenos (1875-1957), a Greek architect who graduated in 1904 from the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris [1], are in danger of being destroyed in Athens. Both of these buildings, located on Dionysiou Areopagiou Street at the beginning of the archeological walk leading to the Acropolis, have in fact a serious drawback : they obstruct the view of the Parthenon from the new museum devoted to it and particularly from the terrace of its future restaurant [2].

1. Vassilis Kouremenos (1875-1957)
Entrance of 15, Dionysiou Areopagiou Street in Athens (1930)
Photo : www.thewebcoders.com

2. Vassilis Kouremenos (1875-1957)
Façade of 15, Dionysiou Areopagiou Street in Athens (1930)
Photo : www.thewebcoders.com


3. Œdipe et le Sphinx
Mosaic of the facade of 15, Dionysiou Areopagiou Street
in Athens (1930)
Photo : www.thewebcoders.com

It would seem that the Greek government considers that the history of art in its country ends with ancient Greece. Anyone who has visited Athens has not failed to notice that none of its buildings hinders the view of the Acropolis. Building a museum behind historical monuments and then tearing these down claiming that they ruin the perspective not only falls under the category of vandalism but also reflects a policy of confusion, especially since the program imposed on the architect of the museum demanded that the two monuments be preserved. In spite of this, a building adjacent to the two that are threatened today, built in 1935 and also classified as a historical monument, was already destroyed in 2003. And yet the Greek State Council authorizes the “declassification” of a building only if “good reasons are given showing that the classification was bestowed without a legal basis or if there is proof of deceit”. Those opposed to the demolition have already warned that they will take the case to the State Council.

Sources : Kathimerini (English Edition) ; Athens News ; areopagitou17.blogspot.com/ ; we have borrowed the pictures from the site thewebcoders.com.

Version françaiseunedelart.com/un-batiment-art-deco-classe-monument-historique-menace-de-demolition-a-athenes-article001289.html


Didier Rykner, vendredi 3 août 2007


Notes

[1] According to Maro Kardamitsi-Adami « Les études des architectes Grecs en France : modèles, approches, influences » on the site of the Fondation Hellenique.

[2] Let us remember that this museum, built by Bernard Tschumi, is partly empty as it hopes to recover the Elgin marbles still in the British Museum.



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