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“Facadism” and Contemporary Architectural Heritage
Cleopatra Theologidou, architect, University of Thessaly

The extensive interventions that have been carried out recently on buildings belonging to the contemporary architectural heritage in Greece bring up the discussion about the design and the methods applied for the restoration and the adjustment of these buildings to new uses. The choices depend largely on marketing laws, on models formed through the international experience and adopted by the general public, as well as on the personal views of the architects. The results of these choices are multiple: they are usually very attractive, from a point of view of aesthetics, but at the same time they reveal a wide range of views regarding the inherent values of these buildings. Among the various ways of intervention and adjustment for new uses, the prevailing one lately is the preservation of the façade and the addition of new constructions in the interior of the building. This practice, which is adopted at an international level, is widely known under the term ‘facadism’. It has as many supporters as opponents, and has given rise to much controversy. The mere preservation of the façade can be an exceptional practice, forming a background, bearing evidence of an edifice that has existed at this spot, but it can hardly be described as an act towards the preservation of our architectural heritage.

theolkal@otenet.gr

25/02/2007
Echoe

In March 2006 the Council of State (5th Chamber) accepted the application submitted by citizens for the annulment of decisions taken by the Minister of Culture, the Minister for the Environment, Physical Planning and Public Works and the Municipality of Athens respectively:

a) the decision of the Minister of Culture about the building situated on the corner of Stadiou street and Korai square in Athens; the Council of State accepted that listing the shell of the building is unnecessary, since the building has already been listed by the Ministry for the Environment, Physical Planning and Public Works; at the same time, the study on the reconstruction of the interior of the building was approved in principle;

b) the decision of the Minister for the Environment, Physical Planning and Public Works, by which specific building terms and restrictions were set regarding the listed building;

c) the building permit issued by the Municipality of Athens, which allowed the restoration of the faces of the building, the new arrangement and reconstruction of its storeys, the opening of basements and the change of use.

More specifically, the Council of State annulled the part of the decision of the Minister of Culture concerning the approval of the study for the reconstruction of the building, as well as the building permit of the Municipality of Athens.

Despite the satisfactory decision of the State Council, the building on the corner of Stadiou street and Korai square still stands with its four walls surrounding an empty space…



MonuMENTA

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