The Greek pavilion for the 2012 Venice Biennale will focus on the particular dynamics of Athens during a period of economic meltdown by addressing the deterioration of Athenian urban space, plummeting standards of living, and the need to redefine the priorities of architectural design. Architects and creative groups have already begun to shape a new “common ground” within Athens. With the exhibition “Made in Athens”, the Greek pavilion aims highlight these positive forces emerging during this crucial present moment in an effort to foreshadow a better future for the city and its architecture. Continue after the break to learn more about “Made in Athens”.
Made in Athens: Description courtesy of the Greek pavilion’s official press release. Contemporary Athens is a city of strong contradictions: It is a city whose particular identity was shaped during post-World-War-II reconstruction. A city which has at its disposal an exceptionally talented cadre of young architects, international in orientation, well educated and with a wealth of professional experience. It is, however, the city that was most stricken by the current economic crisis. Currently the Athenian urban space is decomposing and there are increasingly frequent and greater disruptions of the social web. The younger generation of architects benefited from the positive aspects of globalization and today has come face-to-face with the harsh aspect of the global financial crisis, a plummeting standard of living and the need to redefine the priorities of architectural design. These contradictions are shaping a particular dynamic in the city. Conditions are being created in Athens to expand the links between architecture and the city, both during the economic downturn, but also after it has passed; furthermore conditions are being created to bring to the forefront new ways of viewing the role of architecture, removed from the standards of well-being of the previous decade.
The Greek participation presents this idiosyncratic Athenian urbanism within two themes: The first theme concerns local urban tradition and, specifically, the evolution of the Athenian apartment building or polykatoikia from 1950 to the present day. This theme will examine the relationships between anonymous and eponymous architecture and the process of producing an urban landscape through repetition of a basic unit.
The second theme concerns the fragmentation of and disputes over Athenian public space, focusing on counterbalancing and/or complementary urban forces. Urban decay is presented alongside attempts being made to reutilize central areas; while urban renewal programs are aided by alternative networks and activist initiatives.
The creative force of contemporary Athens is highlighted by an exhibition of works by architects and creative groups in the city. The exhibition focuses on eight narratives about Athens, fleshing out new design strategies and meditating on the developments taking place in the city.
A concurrent presentation of the design practice of creative groups in Athens, alongside the local urban traditions and the transformations of public space aims to chart the new common ground being shaped in Athens by this crisis. The aim of the exhibition is to highlight the positive forces being shaped in this crucial present moment and to foreshadow a better future for the city and its architecture.
Commissioners / Curators: Architects Panos Dragonas and Anna Skiada Funded by: Greece and the European Union Supported by: Municipality of Athens, Hellenic National Centre for Maps & Cartographic heritage, Onassis Foundation Participating architects: Andreas Angelidakis ANTONAS Office (Aristide Antonas, Katerina Koutsogianni) Aesopos Architecture AREA Architecture Research Athens (Styliani Daouti, Giorgos Mitroulias, Michaeljohn Raftopoulos) buerger katsota architects (Stephan Buerger, Demetra Katsota) decaARCHITECTURE (Alexandros Vaitsos, Carlos Loperena, Eleni Zabeli) draftworks* (Christiana Ioannou, Christos Papastergiou) Point Supreme Architects (Konstantinos Pantazis, Marianna Rentzou)
On display will be many proposals for the design of apartment blocks and interventions in public spaces and city buildings, as well as the KM Properties plan to redevelop Kerameikos and Metaxourgeio. Housing projects by architects: D. & S. Antonakakis, Argyropoulos & C. Decavallas Atelier Bow Wow Bertaki / C. Loukopoulou / C. Paniyiris BIG Boyd Cody Architects Divercity (N. Travasaros, D. Karampelia, D. Travasaros, C. Achtypi, C. Dimitroukas) doxiadis+ (T. Doxiadis, I. Vonderthann) Dragonas & V. Christopoulou Fatouros FORA (João Fagulha, Raquel Oliveira and João Ruivo) Gkikas & E. Filtsou ISV Architects (B. Ioannou, T. Sotiropoulos, A. van Gilder) Klab Architecture – Konstantinos Lambrinopoulos, K. Krokos, ksestudio (S. Krimizi, K. Kyriakou) Ktenas Μ. Nikoloutsou & M. Filippidis Scroumbelos Solid Objectives – Idenburg Liu (Florian Idenburg, Ioannis Kandyliaris, Ilias Papageorgiou) D. Sotovikis / A. Sotovikis / C. Batziou, tense architecture network (T. Andrianopoulos, C. Mavros, T. Bampanelos) N. Valsamakis, I. Vikelas, Τ. Ch. Zenetos
Other participating architects/photographers: Charalambos Louizidis & Aikaterini Niki Glinou Yiorgis Yerolymbos Dimitris Michalakis (photographer) Angelos Frantzis (film director/visual artist) b (architect/street artist) The exhibition is designed by architects Panos Dragonas, Anna Skiada, Varvara Christopoulou, Maria Bourdi and Maria Chassioti.
Citizens’ initiatives are also presented for the recovery of public space, such as the Demosion Sima, Navarino Park and the team local / athens. As stated in the related announcement, “The Greek participation is part of the effort that supports the Ministry of Environment to develop a coherent policy on architecture, by upgrading strengething and promoting the production of contemporary projects in Greece. The objective of the participation is to distinguish Greek Participation within the international scene.” The exhibition is realized with the co-financing of Greece and the European Union.