Σάββατο 21 Απριλίου 2012

Modern Greek Architectural Eyesore

I've been collecting many cases where elements of ancient Greek architecture have been incorporated in modern buildings in Greece. I've been meaning to honor and present each one with a separate post, but time is extra-valuable these days, so a collective post it is. Do scroll down till the end - the last one is my favourite ;)

These are all finds and photographs made by other people, so attribution to the original source follows each find. 

As you are about to see, it is extremelly difficult to create a modern building with ancient Greek elements and not end up with a kitch result. 

Still, one may appreciate the effort. 


A block of flats with a large statue in a porch between two blue columns. 
It looks like a copy of the Discobolus and oh-my-God there is a disco ball lying next to it and over it... 

Not sure of its whereabouts, presumably in Corinth.

[original source] [source]


A block of flats in Aigaleo, Athens. 
The shop in the ground floor is also decorated with many copies and a free-standing Athena statue on a column.

Note the Artemision Zeus on top of it all (as it should be) and the numerous Caryatids supporting each floor. 



Another block of flats, also in Aigaleo, Athens - a trend is formed? 

This time the building is crowned with a pediment standing on top of two Ionian columns, painted in blue to match the Greek flag I presume. Not able to discern the subject on the pediment. Many-many statues and columns as well built-in relief metopes - so many one feels his brain complaining. 



The blogger Valia Calda dog spotted this in Thessaloniki and named it appropriately "Bucephalus' manger". It is a garage decorated with a relief of the well-known scene with Alexander the Great attacking Darius III



Another find by the same blogger, this time from Kastoria. 

This is actually my favourite, since I consider it very characteristic of modern Greek architecture and aesthetics. A battle of incongruous elements in the unending desire of the owner to dissociate himself from the environment and state his uniqueness. 

In this case, the Vergina Sun and many columns define Greekness - or better yet "Macedonianess". 


I am extremelly grateful to the blogger Valia Calda dog for granting me permission to republish his photographs here. 

Many thanks are also due to this blog's faithful reader, Ein Steppenwolf, who never fails to let me know of such finds as he sees them. 



The Greek blogger Athensville visited Aigaleo and made an excellent photographic documentation of the wonderful blocks of flats there. 
Visit his blog clicking HERE to see all the details! 

13 σχόλια:

Ο σκύλος της Βάλια Κάλντα είπε...

Nice to see those. But I must also suggest this one!

Ein Steppenwolf είπε...

Is this phenomenal architectural phenomenon exclusively Greek?

Ο σκύλος της Βάλια Κάλντα είπε...

Well, since this is a talk between canines I guess nobody is going to demand scientific accuracy.
(Nice to meet you again, long lost cousin!)
This told I think this is not exclusively Greek. Of course I have seen some kitsch buildings in Turkey and Egypt (i.e. the modern Troian Horse in Troy and Anwar El Saddat's pyramidal tomb in Cairo outskirts, respectively) but I guess we can also meet such examples in Italy, Spain etc. Especially in the not-so-touristic suburbs of poor cities.
But I am afraid that we will never visit such places.

Vassiliki Pliatsika είπε...

Thank you both for your help and for starting such an interesting dialogue.

I do feel that such examples occur in other places as well - where people define themselves through their heroic past, especially when there's no heroic present. I know Egypt is such a case, though I don't have an example in hand to demonstrate.

I feel that such examples in Greece appear much worse than they may be in intention for an additional reason: the prevailing types of domestic architecture in Greece is far from appealing itself.

@Valia Calda dog: AH! the Artemision Zeus of the garage deserves a post on his own! Thank you!

Ο σκύλος της Βάλια Κάλντα είπε...

As far as I can remember, I think that I have seen in "Kathmerini" newspaper a picture of the "singer" "Anna Goula" (it's a nickname for a trash singer impersonated by a Fine Arts graduate) in front of the second building in Aigaleo, supposed to be a kitsch enough environment for the photographic session. I think the owner of the building is Lefteris Pantazis, a (not-so) popular (today) singer.
But, again, I am only a dog.

Ein Steppenwolf είπε...

Hello again, tame cousin!

The Romanian town of Buzescu prides itself upon its "Palatele ţigănesti", or Gipsy Palaces.

Contrary to Aegalean practice, perhaps for want of ancient monuments in Romania, the "arkitschtecture" of a "palatul ţigănesc" does not draw on Antiquity, but –by postmodernist licence– borrows rather freely, even from the Far East.

Ein Steppenwolf είπε...


Ο σκύλος της Βάλια Κάλντα είπε...

Moldavian gypsies rule!

Vassiliki Pliatsika είπε...

First I must apologise for the delay to comment. I greatly enjoy our discussion here -and mind you I'm a cat person, so that says a lot!

I absolutely loved your references on gipsy architecture! I had no idea of their taste in architecture, I must confess.

Greek gispies have an interest in Greek antiquity I should note. I used to drive through their settlement in Zefyri and remember seeing a house with niches and statues. I always meant to stop the car and take a picture but somehow I felt unsafe there.

P.S. I loved the internal reference: I had forgotten I'd already posted that house ;)

Ein Steppenwolf είπε...

Architectural analysis of the "gypsy palaces" (in Romanian, unfortunately without diacritic marks): Palatul tiganesc: obiect de studiu sau subiect de executie publica?.

Ein Steppenwolf είπε...

"Xαρά ο Δίας στο Αιγάλεω!": fresh photos of the Aegalean monuments!

Vassiliki Pliatsika είπε...

Indeed, I just saw it today myself. An excellent photographic documentation - my post deserves an update!

StephaniePumphrey είπε...

Modern versions have the benefit of coming in different materials, all potentially strong enough to stand the test of time.

Archtectural Columns