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Emblematic building honored with book December 7, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Architecture Greece, Books Life Greek.

armypensionfundbuilding.jpg  The grand Army Pension Fund building as seen from Syntagma Square and looking toward Stadiou Street, shortly after construction on the structure was completed in 1950.

The Army Pension Fund building in the heart of Athens once represented an entire world. Built after the Second World War, it has since become linked, in one way or another, to the lives of thousands of Athenians.

Architects Leonidas Bonis and Vassilis Kassandras won a 1926 architectural competition for the building, the largest in Athens, which was erected on the site of the former Royal stables, on a block bounded by Panepistimiou, Amerikis, Stadiou and Voukourestiou streets.

In “The Army Pension Fund Building,” a lavishly illustrated volume just out from the Piraeus Cultural Foundation Group (PIOP), architect Vassilis Kolonas explores the historical and social context of this emblematic building. The book was launched in the building itself, in the new foyer of the Pallas Theater.

Yiannis Kizis, who was in charge the radical refurbishment of the building, spoke of how in some cases, such as the awning on Stadiou and the floor of the Spyromiliou Arcade, Kolonas’s research contributed ideas for the new shape of the building.

Architect Maro Kardamitsa-Adam focused on her personal experience with the building and its associations, while lawyer Stratis Stratigis noted its importance as the last great postwar project of the middle class. It has housed many Athenian landmarks, including Zonar’s, Floca and the Brazilian Cafe and the Pallas Theater.

Sofia Staikou, PIOP’s president, said the book was related to the rebirth of the building as a part of Athenian life. The building today is housing one of the largest departmental stores of Athens, after it has gone a total refurbishment and restoration.

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