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The city is the distillation of a history that has still not ended February 8, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Architecture Greece.
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Three homes on Diogenous Street in Plaka that were merged and renovated by Yiannis Kizis & Associates.

plakahomes.jpg  Yiannis Kizis argues that cities like Rome are the result of a mixed cultural product. “The city is the distillation of a history that has still not ended. Large portions of the population live in buildings that date back a century or two that have managed to survive until today due to a process of constant intervention and changes to their use and arrangement. This is something we are not used to here in Greece,” says the architect. “In Greece, we still have the same attitude toward the fate of monuments. When an intervention does take place, it is normally just to salvage the building rather than to incorporate it into the natural flow of change.”

The two neoclassical buildings on the corner of Stadiou and Amerikis streets that have been in a derelict state since the end of World War II are a common, familiar sight. Until recently, the only part of the buildings to be put into use was the ground floor, and that in order to house stores.

These buildings that are small in scale and owned by the Spiliopouleio Foundation, and listed for preservation by the Ministry of Environment, Physical Planning and Public Works, will be incorporated into a new building complex designed by Yiannis Kizis and Associates for the Pireos Group.

“These buildings were complete wrecks when I visited them,” says Kizis. “Their interiors were complete ruins and only the fronts could be preserved. These buildings are now going to return to the life of the city through a process which will redefine their use. And when there’s nothing left to salvage, all I have is its former appearance to hang on to. This tells me something: that here, at this spot in the city, there used to be something else.”

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