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Amerikis Square in Athens.
Interview with Professor Dionysses Zevas
Editing: Ιrini Gratsia, Maria Konioti

Brief Curriculum Vitae
Dionysses Zevas is an architect, Emeritus Professor of the National Technical University of Athens. He has worked on the protection and the restoration of historical settlements and cities of Greece. He has been head of the study team for the protection and restoration of Plaka.

Professor Dionysses Zevas was brought up and has lived in Plateia Amerikis (Amerikis Square), an urban area of Athens, which was developed prior to World War II. Important architectural elements, both of the neoclassical style and of the modern movement of the 1930’s, are still preserved in the area. The Lanaras apartment building and the building of the architect Douras are two of the most remarkable structures. Professor Zevas resides in an apartment, which was constructed in 1938 by the architect Nikolaides. Living in such a building is quite difficult since its concept is out of today’s standards. The present conversation reveals the urban planning evolution of the area. The apartment buildings of the 1930’s occupied vacant spaces. During the 1950’s and the 1960’s, this occupation was continued and, at the same time, an inconceivable demolition of buildings belonging to the 19th and the early 20th century began. The post-war rebuilding phase was so fierce that many unique neoclassical buildings were demolished in Vas. Sofias Avenue, Kolonaki Square and Syntagma Square. The overwhelming wave of urbanization and the high construction rate is partly what caused this rebuilding. A protest was raised by the Deanery of the National Landscape and Cities. During the 1980’s and the 1990’s, this trend was halted only to start again in the last few years, and as Professor Zevas states, “we are in the state of extinction of the last standing two-storey buildings”. Dense building construction, lack of free space and traffic comprise some of the problems of the area. A characteristic of the neighbourhood is its inhabitation by economic immigrants. Few mayors have contributed to the improvement of Plateia Amerikis. Demetres Beis saw to trees being planted and recently, owing to the Olympic Games, the programme for the restoration and preservation of building façades was applied and had very positive results. The whole atmosphere of the area and all that made Plateia Amerikis possess its own unique character, were lost at some point in the end of the 1960’s, Prof. Zevas concludes.

irini.gratsia@monumenta.org

maria.konioti
@monumenta.org

 

25/02/2007
Echoe

The local marketplace in Kypseli, which Prof. D. Zivas refers to, was built during the 1930s and was named a preserved monument in 2006. The efforts of the area residents for the protection of the building and its subsequent change of character to a cultural and social centre was more than substantial, depicting thus the outcome of a collective and orchestrated effort. During the last weeks a number of events and exhibitions are organized and held in the empty building, aiming at opening the way for the building reuse. The combination of the building use as a marketplace and cultural centre is ideal, especially for a heavy built area like Kypseli.



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