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Old July 31st, 2011, 05:19 AM   #1
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Ουρανοξύστες και Ψηλά Κτίρια στην Αθήνα 3 | Athens Skyscrapers and Highrises 3

Athens Skyscrapers and Highrises 3: A New Hope Under the Shadow of the Giants


Important note:

New visitors to this forum please be advised that this thread / article, is a long due update on my first-ever thread about tall buildings in Athens titled:

(click on the link to transfer)

If you haven't done so, it is highly recommended that you read the thread above prior to reading what lies ahead as it contains material nowhere to be found elsewhere in the web. Specifically, in this original article you will find:

-A history of the issue of building heights in Athens and how it has developed after the Second World War, and especially during the years of the military dictatorship (junta) where 95% of the permits for tall buildings in Athens were issued.

-A presentation of the Athenian highrises, their categories and the whys and hows behind their construction, as well as the absurd reasons behind the total banning of new high-rise construction after 1980.

-A reference to most of the NEVER BUILT projects from the time of the military Junta, which included a high-rise development of world-class hotels (including Intercontinental and Four-Seasons) around the construction site where the new Stavros Niarchos Cultural Center in the Phaleron Delta is under construction at the time of this writing, as well as 20+floor proposed developments for public sector companies head offices like the Public Power Company (PPC - ΔΕΗ) or the Greek Telecoms Organization (OTE) or even other residential highrise developments.

-Also observe: Click HERE to read the Greek Building Code of 1985 (in Greek) and especially Part III, Chapter A, Article 250 (Κώδικας βασικής πολεοδομικής νομοθεσίας > Μέρος-ΙΙΙ > Κεφάλαιο-Α > Αρθρον-250) on the official building height restrictions for Greece with the maximum height still being 27 meters!!!


Distant shot taken from the "Profitis Ilias" Hill in Piraeus

I. Introduction: Skyscrapers in the New Time of Cholera (2004-2011)

It is not such a long time ago that Athens became an Olympic city for the second time (2004), after having completed one of the most successful Summer Olympic Games in the history of the institution. In order to accomplish the games, the city improved dramatically its basic transportation and overall urban infrastructure, having built a new metro and urban rail system, new tram lines, new highways and one of the most efficient airports in the world that received many international awards within its first few years of operation (2001-present). In this context, it becomes a paradox how the gains from this success have not been preserved and the city, some seven years later at the time of this writing, is now devoid of its long-gone post-Olympics luster and struggling to maintain a bearable level of urban standards of living, sometimes even failing to ensure even the most basic conditions of inner-city living to many of its citizens.

The whys and hows behind the obvious urban decay that took only half a dozen years to reach the climax we all now bear witness, are many. The urban crisis now Athens faces seems diabolically multi-faceted and unsurmountable in its own regard: Large parts of the so called "historic center" seem to have surrendered to an urban nightmare caused by what seems to be the perfect storm of urban decay: Rampant illegal migration, problematic law enforcement, unheard-of rise of crime rates, and all that in the middle of the worse economic depression since the Second World War. It is because of this that many claim that the time for highrise and skyscraper construction could have never been worse, even as a working hypothesis. Not to forget that according to many of the old school urban planners that still influence opinions while lecturing in university amphitheaters in architecture schools across the country or by writing in blogs and architecture sites, there now seem to be much higher priorities than the construction of a new CBD (Central Business District) consisting of one or more skyscraper and high-rise clusters. Not that their opinion was any different in earlier and much happier times...

Still, strangely enough, in the middle of this ”Time of Cholera” and contrary to every negative expectation as far as the likelihood of large scale quality construction is concerned, the period after the 2004 Olympics, with all its decay and chaotic descent into the worst nightmares of every "urbanophile" has notably marked the biggest number of highrise and skyscraper proposals in the history of the city of Athens and its metro area!

We are talking numbers far larger than the "golden years" of the pre-crisis decade (1997-2007) that also included the pre-Olympics preparation years where highrise construction may have been more probable as part of these preparations. In reality things turned different as large scale construction during that period was concentrating mainly on public infrastructure and characteristically avoided the need for accommodating non-residential building needs, be it commercial or state institutions. Also, even after the Olympics, the Greek state seemed reluctant to utilize and exploit many of the built assets that were left empty, barren and unusable with the exception of a few structures that were turned into shopping centers etc, or other sports venues that were used as concert halls and theaters.

Yet, it was after the Olympics that there were indeed proposals and for the first time, the words "highrise" (ψηλό κτίριο) and "skyscraper" (ουρανοξύστης) became part of the formal vocabulary of both state officials, as well as architects and building contractors, not to mention the press -printed or electronic- which on occasions went "on fire" as far as exchange of opinions between skyscraper fans and haters is concerned.

So, despite the overall negative conditions, probably the worst since the Second World War, it seems that miraculously, a large part of the general public and especially the younger generations would like to see highrises or even skyscrapers being built on appropriate locations within the Athens metro area as well as in Thessaloniki (Greece's second largest city) or even elsewhere, depending on the size, architecture and overall setting of each prospective highrise.

We are talking about a new era of urban dynamics originating from the wish of many urban citizens who would like to see their cities taking a leap forward. And for construction height to be a distinct element of this new urbanism.

So, apart from the fact that Athens Skyscrapers II thread had to come to a closure, it was also for this reason that I decided to create this thread which will take over where the first one called "ATHENS SKYSCRAPERS AND HIGHRISES: A CHRONICLE - The DEFINITIVE Thread !!!" left in an attempt to bridge the time gap and create a chronology of the main events that succeeded this first thread which was completed at about the same time in 2005, having been preceded by a similar thread that was launched in the old Euroscrapers forum in 2002 and which was eventually deleted when the site was relaunched later that year.

For the sake of history, the first thread (May 2005) in the relaunched SSC thread was an instant hit, caused A LOT of discussions and invoked a lot of visitors, and was eventually followed by a second one named "Athens Skyscrapers Highrises and Modern Architecture 2: The Re-Load" which followed on the footsteps of the original one. Together, at the time of this writing these threads account for some close to 500,000 views in total, making them among the most widely read topics in the whole of the Hellenic Agora.

This fact is highly indicative of the interest of the particular subject to both the Greek and the International skyscrapers fan community and not only; It is also a strong indication that the particular subject has come into focus by the Greek construction community, state authorities as well as Greek professional associations related to architecture, construction and urban planning. At the same time, the actors and players in the drama of building tall in Greece have become clearer, as well as the hidden dynamics that only very few insiders within the the Hellenic Agora know.

So, let us see what all the above mean and if there is any hope that all this commotion with the large numbers of proposed projects will culminate into something more tangible that the papers they are printed on or the storage space of hard disc space they occupy.

Let's see if we will stand again, beneath the shadow of the giants.

PLEASE NOTE: All photos are taken by me unless otherwise indicated at the bottom of a picture or anywhere else within the text.

-Athens Ampelokipi District Skyline, as seen from the Athens Hilton Hotel Roof Garden, June 2011

II. Athens Skyscrapers and Highrises (1963 - 1980) Politics and White Lies Above a Grey Sea of Concrete

In my view the story of Athens's tall buildings is sad because it has all the characteristics of a Greek tragedy. I think that what we are seeing is a product of the unfortunate coincidence that many people with very strong convictions were found in strategic positions at the wrong time. Not that ALL their convictions or intentions were bad, but the overall mix was disastrous. If you read the story as presented in my first Athens Skyscrapers thread titled and especially the 4th chapter titled"The Middle Ages, 1975-2000" you will discover the history behind the situation we are facing today.

More specifically, the building code in effect today dating back to the early 1980s as well as the Athens Urban Plan of 1985, among other things expressly had as their objective the banning of the construction of all building structures above 30 meters tall (27 to be precise, the significance of this exact number eluding my humble logic). The prominent reasons as appearing on various occasions in the mass media are as follows:

A. Banning the construction of tall structures would leave the view of the Acropolis unmolested by any blasphemously competing structures.

Experience has shown us that: The absence of other rules related not only to the height of the buildings but also to the control of the density of the structures lead to a concrete jungle of 5-8 storey buildings where the unobstructed view of the Acropolis remained only for the privileged ones occupying the top floor apartments (also known with the French word "retirées") on these buildings. This in the long run did NOT repel prospective immigrants especially during the first four decades after the Second World War, to flood the city. On the contrary, as the following pictures reveal, these pressures led to the shrinkage of any public space available,and the construction of densely build 5-7 storey blocks of flats over a large area of the city proper as well as the suburbs. The vast majority of the buildings you see in the following pictures were built between the years 1950-1970, before expansion to the suburbs started in the mid-1970s.

Notably, for whatever good or bad, even in this mess, the top height of approx 25-30m was kept religiously with some exceptions that we will discuss later.

B. Banning of tall structures would leave the unique "Athenian Landscape" in tact and would allow the citizens to live in an environment characterized by "human scales", thus also allowing the idea of the "neighborhood" to be sustained. Furthermore the absence of tall buildings would preserve the natural environment and would allow the sunlight to reach the living and working endeavors of the citizens at street levels where is mostly needed.

Experience has shown us that: Outside of the radius of a few kilometers in the perimeter of the Acropolis where truly is a unique urban landscape with a world-class monument in its center, the absence of tall / big buildings has indeed created problems instead of solving them since the anticipated urban pressures for lodging and / or professional and commercial space were not addressed properly.

Furthermore, the idea of a "neighborhood" ceased to exist in Athens since the 1980s where the rise of the standards of living made families seeking for more luxurious and isolated homes where safety and comfort took over human contact and socialization, especially for the hard-working younger generations that did not have the time or the predisposition to socialize with their new suburban neighbors following more sophisticated socialization patterns based on professional and peer group relations in and out the confines of their immediate urban community.

In addition, the system of continuous high density urban fabric that especially exists in central Athens does not allow at all the sunlight to reach certain areas despite the low heights of the buildings and thus, the purpose of the banning is not served.

Finally, it should have been anticipated that the urban pressures of a developing city of 2.5 - 3 million at the time that the new (...) General Construction Code was introduced ca 1986 would be far too big to counter with purely reactive and restrictive measures. As a result, the need for new building space increased over time and this lead to a whole series of unfortunate developments including repeated arsons with devastating results to the green spaces in the periphery of the city. To give you an indication, I reckon that beyond everything else, the mountain of Penteli must have been burned over four times during the last 20 years, all for the sake of creating space for new lodgings...

C. Banning of tall buildings would alleviate the dangers from future earthquakes that frequently take place in Athens...

Experience has shown us that: The height of a structure is irrelevant to the degree by which it may sustain a major earthquake. There are many cities like Tokyo or Los Angeles that have been hit by quakes and especially their tall buildings passed the test with flying colors while many lowrise structures suffered if not to say collapsed. Tall structures built by large construction firms and in accordance to the latest earthquake standards will not have a problem, given the fact that the tall buildings in Athens have also passed the test twice, in 1981 and 1999. To this day, no earthquake damage has been reported to ANY building above 15 floors in Athens or elsewhere in the country.

The above can be illustrated by the following bunch of pictures:

-The eminence of Athens Acropolis amidst its surrounding lowrise concrete jungle. Image taken from the Attikon Alsos hills.

In the above picture observe the Olympic Taekwondo Indoor Arena to the far right, now used for concerts and long due to be converted to a congress and conferences hall.

-View of the Acropolis from an apartment block in Pagrati, a district located somewhere a couple of miles north-east of the Acropolis. This is a typical view of how the monument looks from most of the areas surrounding it.

In the post World-war II there's has been much controversy as to whether tall buildings could be built in Athens and where. As already mentioned in the beginning of this thread, a full historical account of what has happened from the end of WWII to 2004 is available in the first Athens Skyscrapers and Highrises thread.

Something most people do not know is that it all started with the Athens Hilton, that was built in the early 1960s and which would (and actually did in a sense) enter Athens into the era of postwar cosmopolitanism not only due to its height but also due to its location and proximity to the center of the city. Below you may see some pictures were taken from its top floor (12 or 13 above ground):

-The Athens Hilton Hotel, Athens first highrise (1963, renovated 2003), View from the Acropolis, summer 2004 when we all believed that things might finally get better...

Funny enough, the "mega-beast" (or mega-therion) shape (of the Athens Hilton which was expected to dwarf the neighboring streets and deprive them from the sunlight (το "μεγαθήριο" που λέμε στα Ελληνικά - από τότε το λέγανε!!!) not only settled in the middle of an unshaped at the time urban milieu but also helped tremendously to increase the value of the neighboring properties. Today, the area "behind the Hilton" (όπισθεν Xίλτον) is considered one of the most classy in inner city Athens in contast to initial fears and mourning cries "for the lost of the character of a classic Athenian neighborhood".

-How neighboring streets close to the Hilton might look with the mega-therion near them? Take a peek:

-View of the "noble" side of Athens taken from the top of the Athens Hilton Hotel with the Vasilissis Sophias Avenue and the characteristic boxy shape of the war museum in the front, as well as the Acropolis standing proud in the background. The hill behind the Acropolis hill is the Pnyx Hill, another place of history in the city.

- Looking from the Hilton to the Caravel Hotel from the luxurious restaurant-bar at the roof garden.

Unfortunately, the images one gets from Athens, especially away from the major tourist spots may turn ugly, especially when taken from elevated perspectives...

-Views of the concrete jungle within the Inner Athens areas. Two photos taken from the Attikon Alsos Hill. Images speak for themselves.

-In the following picture you may see that in the animal farm that Athens has developed into over the years, some animals are more... equal than others and thus, with the help of a hilly terrain and the appropriate... interpretation of the law, some structures stand taller than others, i.e. 30+ meters compared to the usual 27 meters with some structures legally being 9 or 10 overground floors compared to the usual 7... See how the tall block of flats to the right exceeds the height of its neighboring blocks by a couple of floors... I cannot imagine the price of the top flats especially if they constitute a single two-floor apartment!!! Photo taken from the Athens Hilton Hotel

-Some other times we see newer glass office buildings, slightly taller, breaking the monotony of the concrete sea with their 7 or 8 floors compared to the neighboring 5 or 6... Photo taken from the Athens Hilton Hotel

-Occasionally, the eye takes a rest with a larger structure, in this case the Galatsi Olympic Gymnastics Hall, which will most probably will be turned to (yet another) shopping mall. Photo taken from the Attikon Alsos Hills

- Not all of Athens consists of the ugly blocks depicted above though. There are areas where there are beautiful houses where high income people stay too. However, observe - as in the following photo- how "invasive" and aggressive towards the environment the construction of these houses also is, despite their good quality. Thank God, these houses didn't reach the top of the hill in the picture. Image is from the Attikon Alsos Hills.

Nobody made a complaint about these ones though...

-Sometimes it's nature itself that makes the difference. Here we see part of the "Evangelismos" General Hospital with the Lycabettus Hill (height: 277m above sea level) in the background, the most noticeable natural landmark after the Acropolis of course... Photo also taken from the Athens Hilton...

Lovely isn't it? Actually, they say that it is because of the unique visual combination of these natural landmarks that compose the so - called "Attica Landscape" or "Athenian Landscape" that tall buildings are not allowed in Athens. As a matter of fact, most tourists and visitors will NEVER know whether Athens has a single building taller than 10-12 floors. Or do they?

After all, we wouldn't like them to see something like THAT!!!!

That's the Lycabettus Hill with, er, a tall building. Not exactly next to it but fairly close!!!

By the way, the image is not photoshopped and was taken from the 5th floor of a block where a friend lived in the area of Zografou, thus the proximity to Lycabettus and the... tower which NOBODY mentions yet is visible from most vintage points including the Acropolis and of course, the Lycabettus Hill.

So Athens HAS something resembling to a... skyscraper. It is the 28-floor, 103m-tall Athens Tower and you may read the full story of this tower and more in my relevant dedicated thread about the building.

-The Athens Tower - Look from the base towards the top.

Also, funny enough, the tourists that have to go though the utter dystopia of Central Piraeus in order to get to the boat to the islands, they may notice another beast, the 24-floor, 84m-tall Tower of Piraeus which is... on hold for over 35 years and despite the fact that it has been the subject of an architectural competition and numerous announcements about his overdue completion, the tower was never completed except from its two first floors...

But is that all??? Well, no. It isn't

Over the years, a number of close to 50 buildings between 12 to 28 stories above the ground have been built in Athens and Piraeus. I will not mention a couple of projects outside Athens, including the 20-storey Rodos Palace Hotel in the island of Rhodes or a few 12-14 storey tall blocks in Thessaloniki.

What I I would like to share with you is yet another bunch of a few aspects of the Athenian highrises that for whatever reason I was the first to publish during the early millennium and now I an the first to offer you their updated vies, fresh, brand new, all mine, all taken during 2011.

Unfortunately, no significant new additions are visible so comparing them with earlier pics you will not find any significant differences.

In any case, Enjoy!!!

-The two more classic images of what may come close to an Athenian "skyline" as ween from the Roof Garden of the Athens Hilton Hotel (13 floor). To the right, the Athens tower is visible, accompanied by the rest of the highrises built during the 1970s.

-From the Athens Hilton looking towards the ministry of Public Order and a few residential mini-towers in the suburb of Cholargos

-Even from a much less humble observation point, i.e. the 5th floor from an apartment block in the inner city district of Pagrati, may offer us some impressive views of what a highrise landscape might look like as seen from an inner city neighborhood, despite the low height of the buildings compared to other cities:

-Residential Towers in on Mesogeion Avenue in Palaion Psychikon, suburb, constituting what may be called a "tower block". Photo taken from the top of the Athens Hilton Hotel.

- Photos taken from the slope of mount Hymettus near the area of Papagos and Cholargos looking towards a number of highrises built in the areas of Cholargos and Palaion Psychikon. Floor uses are resibential for all but one building. All these buildings which I call ("The lost residentials") have been completed between 1970 to the late 1970s. Despite the bad publicity that the ignorant media and the militant academics gave them, the ones depicted here offer a better and more organized style of living since they offer ample public space around them, a reception service, and of course their tenants enjoy unlimited view to all directions of the horizon.

-From mount Hymettus sitting on one of the airbridges of the Attica Ring Road in the area of Papagos, looking towards the direction of the Athens Tower:

-Looking towards the Messogeion and Neon Psychikon Towers with the Athens Olympic Athletic Center (OAKA) in the background!!!

-Looking at the Ministry of Public Order (left) and the military hospitals on Katehaki Avenue.

-Here you see the building of the former Athens Expo Center and the Ministry of Public Order. The houses in the foreground belong to the suburb of Papagos (where I live BTW).

-OK, in the foreground there are the two towers (Efterpi and Erato) in Cholargos, while in the background one may see the Atrina Center and the Greek Telecom Building.

The photographs coming next have been taken from the Attikon Alsos and they depict some good and bad realities about Athens and its relation with tall buildings...

-On the one hand we see an orderly urban setting with some highrises in a classy neighborhood like Psychiko...

-Then we may see another view where many different types of urban organization structures coexist in a single picture: The green mountain at the background, the parks with the large public buildings and the hospitals in the middle, and the former Athens Expo Center in the foreground, all blending together. These parks are only 10'minutes drive away from where I am standing in Attikon Alsos hills...

-And this is the nightmare view. A part of Western Athens where you simply see 14-floor buildings rising above the dystopia. In reality, some of the neighborhoods depicted there may NOT be as ugly as they look and the same is true about the surroundings of the tall buildings in the picture. Unfortunately, the sentiment of ugly density one gets from this picture is real. Not surprisingly, most enemies of tall buildings in Athens refer to these buildings as examples of mistakes never to be repeated.

However, these haters seem to forget that there are much better examples where tall buildings proved both efficient urban structures as well as allowing more green areas around them compared with the conventional building code as the picture below reveals:

-Take the rich suburbs like Psychikon:

(C) Bing Maps 2010-2011

...around Ethikis Antistaseos in Psychiko, lots of midrise residentials...

(C) Bing Maps 2010-2011

or in middle class neighborhoods like neon Psychikon... Observe the abundance of empty space around the tall residentials...

(C) Bing Maps 2010-2011

-Even in the dense neighborhoods of Kato Patissia, tall buildings are the only ones with empty spaces around them...

(C) Bing Maps 2010-2011

Seems that height itself is just an tool of urban planning and not the "absolute evil" they want to present us. We keep this in mind and we go on with the last pictures from Athens skylines taken by me this year:

- Views of the Athens Athletic Olympic Center (OAKA) from mount Hymettus. True, the overall construction of the center and the upgrade of the main stadium by the renowned Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava (2004) was the first crack in the ice after decades of inertia. The big building in the front is a private medical center (Hygeia Hospital)

-This one was taken from the footbridge in Kifissias Avenue and gives a very dramatic view of the "organic" design of the 80-m tall roof and arches by Santiago Calatrava. Despite its critics of being a "copy-paste" job of the previous works by the Spanish architect, as well as introducing a "pharaonic scale in its artificial giganticism", the renovation of the Olympic stadium made probably the strongest statement about the need for the city to regain some of the "urban pride" by resorting to high quality, large scale constructions, in addition to other much-needed actions of urban regeneration analyzed elsewhere within the Hellenic forums.

-Finally, the main Athens Olympic Stadium in a classic shot taken from the terrace of "the Mall Athens" the biggest shopping center in Greece with some 58,500 square meters of Gross Leasable Area (GLA).

To the sensitive eye, the last picture alone is the living proof of the grace of tall and big structures when they are designed with elegance and style and properly incorporated into the urban fabric. An art that needs to be practiced with wisdom and caution instead of having a forced urban identity imposed with bans and restrictions. But more on this later...

III. Proposals 2005-2011

They say that even the Gods do not know which way the winds of karma will go. Nothing could be closest to the truth as far as construction of skyscrapers in Greece is concerned.

If you read (and I suggest you take some time to read it) the history and the chronology of the events that I present in the first Athens skyscrapers thread, the massive construction of tall buildings took place during the years of the military junta, according to the "development law" (αναπτυξιακός νόμος ) Α.Ν. 395/68 "on the heights of buildings and free construction" (in Greek: "Περί του ύψους των οικοδομών και της ελευθέρας δομήσεως", although the closest appropriate term notionally is: "on unrestricted construction") as I wrote back then.

Also, you will find out that after the fall of the Junta (1974), first of all, the particular law was revoked in 1978, followed by a new General Building Code in 1983 (Γενικό Οικοδομικό Κανονισμό) and a new Master plan (Ρυθμιστικό σχέδιο) in 1985, the years in need of verification. For a number of socio-political reasons, tall buildings, and by the term we mean ANYTHING taller than 10 floors, even away from Athens, became one of the most unbreakable social taboos. This didn't even change during the preparation for the Olympics, despite the fact that a similar event was the cornerstone for change on this matter in Barcelona where the Olympics brought tall buildings back into the παρτιψθλαρ city's architectural vocabulary.

So the Olympics with all the pertinent controversy came and went, leaving behind a city with a fabulous base infrastructure to become a Mediterranean metropolis.

But things didn't go as expected...

Anyway, let us see what took place since the end of the 2004 Olympics.

A. Manolis Anastasakis and the West Athens Towers

The first newsbomb went off on a beautiful Sunday morning on June 18, 2006. I remember I was doing the usual Sunday morning reading in the SSC forum when I saw the breaking news on a post by one of our co-forumers

"HERE"]News about a 200m-skyscraper to be built in Athens in Kathimerini newspaper[/URL]". [/B]

I IMMEDIATELY run to the news kiosk and bought the paper. Unfortunately, it was not about a realizable project but just about a proposal prepared by the architect Manolis Anastasakis as part of his participation in the e-volo ο 2006 architectural competition. Then project was about a multi-scraper, consisting of three skyscraper wings with structural heights of 130, 160 and 200m to be built in the area of Elaionas (olive grove), where part of the ancient city of Athens was located but now it is simply the junk yard of the modern city. Notably, the complex's design is strongly reminiscent of olive tree leafs.

Click more info.

B. Alexios Vandoros and his projects.

The second crack in the ice came from Alexios Vandoros, a young architect who on December 2006 published a proposal which was part of his dissertation for his architecture degree along with another guy named Kondylis. The proposal was calling for the construction of three 35floor - 165m - skyscrapers in the area of Lahanokipi in Western Thessaloniki. Although the project received mixed critics, a friend of mine who is also an architect told me that the basics behind Vandoros' and Kondylis Idea are correct and well placed. Three buildings, not occupying much space, the surrounding area properly planned, access ways equally well planned. Not bad for somebody that did not have a degree if you asked me...

Click HERE for more pics.

Alexios also participated in he architecture competition e-volo with a proposal for a series of hyper-buildings for the area of the de-comissioned Hellenikon Airport

Click HERE to get a glimpse of this -again- controversial and certainly unrealizable proposal.

Another event worth mentioning here is the conduct of the Piraeus Tower 2010 - Changing the Facade" competition. The competition was conducted by in two phases with numerous sponsors and Alexios Vandoros participated with the capacity of the Editor-in-Chief of the particular website. A full account of the events by me is present in Skyscrapercity and you can access the final phase of the competition and see the results by clicking HERE. Those of you that are interested about the whole story you may as well read everything from the beginning by clicking HERE

Apart from all that, Vandoros maintains a permanent column about tall buildings in and along with the site's owner, Vassilis Mistriotis (not a supporter of tall buildings BUT one of the most active persons in the field of architectural journalism of any kind in general), they are in the forefront of active news storytelling on architectural matters in Greece, despite the financial crisis plaguing the country these days.

C. The New Locations and Highrise Development Proposals

Even before the commencement of the crisis which most of the analysts place somewhere around mid 2008 to early 2009, there were some proposals to the then conservative government about proceeding with developing certain areas. These areas which one way or another will concern us for a while are shaded in green and are numbered in the following map.

(C) Google Earth 2011

Area 1: Votanikos - Elaionas

We have already referred to this area when we discussed about the project for the multiscraper in Elaionas. In reality this area is one of the most important candidates for transformation. Its total area is about 1300 hectares (13.000 στρέμματα) of abandoned of partly used factories, transport companies, and everything else that comes to mind and is synonymous with the world "dilapidation". However, with the proper planning, it alone could transform for the better the functions of the city of Athens until the year 2050 and fully accommodate a full-blown business center like la defense in Paris, or even more, without any sacrifice as far as the Green and sustainable development is also concerned.

Unfortunately, part of the area which was to be used in a scheme called "double development" and which would involve the exchange of free space with another densely populated area in inner city Athens did not flourish. The scheme which was supposed to lead to the construction of a high-end UEFA graded football court of 50,000 capacity for "Panathinaikos", the official team of the city of Athens, as well as a mall with some 75,000 square meters GLA was stopped for three years due to political games between left-wing political parties, the council of the state, the previous mayor of Athens and the developers and businessmen involved. I will not go deeper into this as this doesn't concern the international readers. I will simply include here a visionary image of Mr Anastasakis's multiscraper next to the stadium in the hope that someone will see and be inspired by it...

(C) gm2263 and Panathinaikos FC for the original model.

Still, despite all the above, this area has been recently mentioned by a financial, newspaper as a candidate for building skyscrapers when the legislation and the time will be appropriate. The relevant article in Greek, talking about "Small skyscrapers soon to be built in Athenian suburbs" can be accessed by clicking HERE

Still nothing concrete to be said about this area which, as already discussed, with the proper planning it can solve alone the accommodation and housing needs of Athens for the next 50 years - includes a park of AT LEAST 500 acres if needed...

Area 2: Drapetsona and the Fertilizer Plant

Drapetsona is one of the poorest municipalities constituting the Athens - Piraeus metro area. A classic working class neighborhood whose male population was feeding the needs of the heavy industries to the west of the port of Piraeus as well as all types of employment relating directly or indirectly with the maritime activities - and still do as much as the current economy crisis, economic recession and raging unemployment allows. Add to this the pre-existing poverty, the almost total absence of green spaces, the low quality of both public spaces and the built environment and you have an example of one of the most unlucky urban areas in Europe.

...well, not exactly...

Adjacent to the city of Drapetsona and now blocking the access to the waterfront, there is an empty site of an abandoned fertilizer plant that used to employ many of the locals in its production lines. The total area, about 68 acres (680 στρέμματα) is now what may be called an "urban gap" which has been the subjects of many proposals, close to ten, if I remember correctly since the factory was shut down years ago,

The two most significant proposals were

Proposal 1 (September 2006) - A proposal for a low density, mixed development with residences, schools, a cultural center as well as office developments including a small highrise which I estimate to be around 16 floors. Click HERE to read more and see more photos and renderings.

-Overview - Rendering of the proposed Development

(Source: Kathimerini Newspaper)

-The then proposed tower in the middle of what seems to be an office and commercial development

(Source: Kathimerini Newspaper - Detail)

Proposal 2: A Large Park with Twin Towers (May 2010) - A much more mature proposal which leaves most of the area empty with only one or two pairs of twin towers from 22 to 34 floors occupying additional space and the rest used as a park. Notably, the old factory plant is destined to be used as a cultural center. Click Click HERE to read more.

All images (C) "TA NEA" Newspaper.

Area 3: The Site of Hellenikon - Former Athens International Airport

This is probably the site that has received with the most proposals. The history of the site goes back to 2001 when the old Athens Airport ceased its operations after the new one opened in Spata, to the north-east of Athens. From this moment on, the area of 640 acres (6,400 stremmata) remained either unused or partly used as as in 2004 when, during the summer Olympics, the site hosted a number of installations out of which, some of them are still in operation.

After a lot of discussions, it took the economic crisis for the Greek Government in order to start thinking about a development of the site which... well... under certain conditions might involve one or more highrise developments.

At various stages of the discussions various influential persons and organizations were involved in making a proposal or otherwise offer a pice of advise. Indicatively, the list includes high government officers from Qatar, the Spanish architect Josep Acebillo, The French Construction Group Vinci, and others. Despite all the Greek government reassurances that the works in Hellenikon may begin soon as a matter of high priority, a combination of cheap local politics, obsolete laws and master plans in need of immediate change, as well as the lack of capacity on the part of the state to decide and proceed on a definitive course of action, keeps the development of this area on hold although all plans include at least 300 acres (3000 stremmata) of what they call a "metropolitan park". Some proposalsQ

-Josep Acebillo - Part of the proposed development depicting a water canal and two towers.

-The Proposal by the French Construction Group "Vinci" depicting a business center around an artificial water canal. Images appeared in the Greek press

-The proposal by the Greek architect Spyros Tsagkaratos. The proposal refers to a mixed highrise development around an artificial lake - Images appeared in the Greek press:

The most encouraging fact though, besides the cataclysm of new proposals for towers to be built around Athens, is the discussions which have increased in intensity since 2004. Albeit a little too late, Ioannis Vikelas, the architect of the tallest and the most significant Athenian towers started being active by giving speeches and presentationa as well as organizing an exhibition of the most significant of his works at the Bekani Museum (2010).

Not surprisingly for those familiar with the scene, numerous bursts sometimes of not-so-polite articles appeared in Greek newspapers and architecture sites, fighting with militancy against the idea of a tall Athens. On one occasion a professor of the Athens National Technical University (Mετσόβιο Πολυτεχνείο - ΕΜΠ) declared that "if one of my students submitted a proposal like the ones by Mr Vikelas, I would have referred him for the September Examination Period". So much for democracy and tolerance for the ideas of others.

Still, the discussion is heated although it is the first time that numerous cracks on the wall of negativism have appeared. Whether they will lead to the breaking of the wall still remains to be seen. On the other hand though, with the help of the Internet, more and more people see a window to an alternate urban reality which could provide solutions to some of Athens big urban problems if combined with other actions.

IV. Case Study: Kifissias Avenue – Lost but Not Forgotten....

If there is an urban myth that better represents the ugly truth about what went wrong with the construction of tall buildings in Athens, this cannot be any other than the story of Kifissias Avenue.

Before the "urban gaps" mentioned above were offered as a last resort for the re-urbanization of Athens, both on terms of the creation of green spaces that are much needed especially within the west part of the metro area, but also with regards to reshaping the overall metropolitan identity of greater Athens, there was Kiffisias Avenue.

This historical road connects the northernmost edge of the center of Athens in Ampelokipi district with the beautiful suburb of Kifissia and the northern rich suburbs of the city. Between them, 17 kilometers or 11 miles of quality driving on a six-lane boulevard with numerous junctions, probably the biggest concentration of corporate head offices along with Syggrou Avenue, the one that connects Athens with its seafront, and probably the best candidate for receiving highrises since the 1970s and still one of the strongest, given the fact that the planned new line 4 of the Athens metro will offer this avenue another 7 stations in addition to the two it already has.

True, the avenue had everything to become a Business center. Everything. Except the for the political will to make Athens a Business and Economic center in the region. I am sure most of you you will be surprised to find out that although Kifissias has been transformed through the social dynamics of its excellent position to become a business center, the original Athens Master plan, did not have a provision for this role. Even when two highrises were completed, namely the 20-storey, 80m Atrina Center (1980) and the large Greek Telecom (OTE) Head Offices (1978) in what was to become one of the hottest spots for highrise construction, nobody moved. On the contrary, because these two buildings - like all most of the tallest one in Athens Metro Area, were built with building permits given the years of the military junta, they managed to "demonize" the idea of corporate and commercial buildings, especially the ones with glass facades.

In this context, Athens may be the only city in the galaxy where, for 30 years (until 2008, that is) while the economy was increasing in size and the city was getting richer, the average height of new construction was diminishing!!! Indiscriminately!!! Plain schizophrenia!!! Although pressures for building corporate buildings were high in the area, and although many buildings were built especially during the years 1980 - 2005, one cannot fail to observe that the maximum height of the buildings facing the avenue was dramatically decreasing over the years. Figures speak for themselves: Floor count refers to total overground floors:

-1980 - Atrina Center - 20 floors above ground
-1990 - Babis Vovos "Polis" - 10 Floors
-1999 - Babis Vovos Monumental Plaza - 8 floors
-2003 - Wind Telecom (Babis Vovos), 5 Floors, Marfin Bank (Vovos) 5 Floors
-2005 - Present: Shopping complexes and retail boxes - No more corporate offices besides a few exceptions - All 3 - 5 floors.

I believe that somehow it will have to be recorded in the history of urban planning that the developments in the most commercial avenue in a capital city of 4.5 million in Europe, were in fact the results of countless legal battles between misinformed "local" residents, municipal authorities chasing votes in local government elections and witty contractors who never said anything about changing the law but they adapted and using sneaky tactics, they were building almost overnight whole low-rise (but still, high quality) office blocks trying to take advantage of even the last cubic inch that the law would allow or before the next appeal to the State Counsil (Συμβούλιο της Επικρατείας) by the usually misinformed and politically patronized local citizen interest groups was submitted!!!

It drives every sane person crazy to see how a society's actors and forces acted in complete mistrust against each other and how these machinations functioned in the case of Kifissias Avenue. And you know what? Various brochures printed for use by the Athens 2004 Olympics visitors were referring to Kifissias as "the new Business Center of Athens" Such hypocrisy!!! Such double talk!!!.

This resulted in the image of one of the best avenues in Europe looking now to the eyes of an experienced urban observer, like a caricature of what it could have been. Large structures in big property plots interchange with three-story glass walled office buildings that are scattered even in nearby neighborhoods where I suspect the executives having a significant meeting will have full visual contact with the neighbors laundry hanging from a rope in their balconies. Large shopping complexes including the 40,000 GLA Golden Hall that was awarded the title of the Best shopping center in Europe for 2010, together with other two and three story shopping and entertainment complexes that were obviously built by default since the property owners and the developers could not build anything else at this height with a viable return on investment besides a mall or shopping complex.

What we Athenians witnessed all these years is the total incapacity and inability of a society to manage the diverse urban pressures which for other cities were seen as challenges and not as threats. What the absurd image of Kifissias avenue reveals is that of a society of clueless citizens and individuals. We built our cities in the same way that we built our lives. Having no direction, no objectives, no viable plan. The result is an urban paradox as we will see where in the absence of state regulation, the first that manages to claim a piece of land is the one that will rule how others will use it.

What follows is a photographic report I prepared about this avenue. Most of the pictures are new, some depicting sides and aspects of Kifissias never seen. Prior to looking at it, it may useful to visit a thread by another forumer where I myself have contributed and which has MANY pictures of this avenue so that you may get the feeling of how it looks at street level. Just click HERE

So, let's begin:

Two photos of Kifissias at its start in Ampelokipi district, taken from the 21st floor of President Hotel on the summer of 2010. As previously mentioned, Ampelokipi has two of the tallest buildings in Athens, all built during the 1970s.

-The part of the Avenue that is more interesting and would in fact remind us of similar developments in Europe or elsewhere where the new and the old city are connected by a major boulevard or Avenue (i.e. Madrid, Paris, Istanbul, etc) the so called "Golden Mile" if you wish, is the one depicted by the following map. Most f it is a straight line, connecting the access roads to the Olympic Center (OAKA) with the roundabout junction with the major ring road of Athens, the famous Attica Road.

(c) Google Earth 2011

Moving from Athens to the ring road along this Golden Mile, these is more or less what we will see:

-From the footbridge close to the Hygeia Hospital, looking to the south: The 15-floor Hygeia Hospital, also built during the years of the military Junta...

-Looking toward the north, we see a few large scale constructions including Olympic installations that were destined to accommodate the Ministry of Health. I don't know what happened with this. Also, in the background, the 17-story Greek Telecom Building is visible...

-There are numerous big and empty plots of land which could accommodate skyscrapers and/or large constructions. This one offers a direct view to the Athens Olympic Stadium

-A typical form of "failed" development where the architect tries to imitate much larger and taller buildings while coating four-story buildings with glass. This one is particularly ugly and kitsch by the way...

As we continue, we see arrays of 4-6 floor buildings with the Atrina Center being the only one to dominate the skyline. I took this one from the terrace of the Avenue - Carrefour mall.

-The Atrina Center. Completed in 1980, it marked the beginning of an era that never came.

The situation becomes REALLY absurd at the point where Kifissias meets the Attica road in a three-level roundabout junction that also has a suburban rail station in the center, DIRECTLY connecting this particular spot with the Athens airport. I took a number of views with this roundabout wanting to show the size of irrational thinking in the minds of city planners.

OK, this image looks good and what one might expect to see here...

-However, if we try to look at what goes on in the other directions of the roundabout, we might become skeptical. In this roundabout which could have been the center-point of the new city of Athens, with direct road and rail connections with the center of the city as well as the airport, to the right of this picture where in ANY other country there would have been a 40-floor hotel with a convention center with 10.000 seating capacity at least there is... a one floor Car Exhibition (!!!), with an entertainment park nearby, like it was 30 years ago.

-At the diametrically opposite side we see Car exhibition where another hotel or office building could have been built. Also, we see part of the a bunch of lowrise office buildings built by Babis Vovos Constructions.

-Looking to the East we see another seven-floor development but directly in front of it there is... an automobiles technical inspection center. As if there were not any more appropriate places to build it!!!. Of course itt IS and looks modern but... come on!!! There should have been another at least 30 floor development!!!

-OK, this is a decent view...

-But the funny thing is with the Attica Road itself. An 8-lane highway on whose both sides there is... NOTHING!!! Total flatness in a location that SCREAMS for highrise development. I mean, what is happening in this city is absurd. Space-Age metro stations that lead to three floor residential blocks of flats. One of the most advantageous points for urban development in Europe and at each side you see two and three floor buildings. I mean, even in Papagos where I live, which is considered a high class residential neighborhood, they allow for four floor blocks. But no!!! at the sides of the Attica road three floor buildings are allowed!!!

Anyway, the characteristic roof of the Mall Athens is visible somewhere to the left...

I mean, why not make them subterranean? And leave the landscape in its nothingness?

-View of the Atrina Center from the Mall Athens. This is an old one (2006 - time flies, isn't it? ) but I believe it needs to be seen by the new members. See how "empty" the Maroussi skyline looks over there...

-This is absurd... Observe how the Olympic stadium may be seen between these ugly and stocky buildings...

-A highly symbolic image of the Greek reality today.

-I mean this is a bad joke. These are supposed to be new office developments to the side of the Attica Road. Observe how balanced the design of the old but gracious OTE building looks compared to the minuscule ones in front of it...

Ugly... If you asked for an update on the... developments in the area, this is what I would probably have to offer!!! Ladies and Gentlemen, This is the update on how Office building construction goes in Athens these days in one of the most prominent locations... Pity

Of course there are better buildings around there. However, I feel that we all must pass the message across that this is not enough!!! To say the least. And still, another Greek paradox, good Greek architecture is hiding here and there while ugliness prevails in many prominent locations.

To cut a long story short:

I believe that Kifissias Avenue needs a complete restoration, especially in terms of where the "golden mile" is. I believe that within the next 20 years it will be feasible to replace most of the ugly 1980s and 1990s boxes with elegant highrises, while redesigning the whole layout of the area. I believe that in the plots around the roundabout should be built with something bigger more than what they have in store for Drapetsona, or Hellinikon, or Elaionas. This is a fantastic location for the development of a new concept abut the modern city. But read next to get a glimpse of the imagination of our co-forumers and how they see such a kind of development

V. Kifissias Avenue: Skyscrapercity Competition - Where There Is a Will, There Is a Way

After having been shocked from what I saw in Kifissias and Attica road, I called for some sort of competition to the forumers proficient with photo editing software. The results were quite encouraging if I might say so.

the competition details may be found HERE

...and this is what I got:

-User Alexandris:

-User: Son of Sparta

-USER: Vas 8

image hosted on flickr

Of course, to the eyes of a cynic, the above are simply sketchy attempts bearing no resemblance with reality. My answer is simple: There has not been any invention, scientific advancement or progress that did not go though the stage of visualization in somebody's mind prior to being offered to reality testing. What the above, first and foremost imply is the attitude they convey. Some will say that some scrapers may look odd, some others may look bulky and out of place. The essence though (which, many would like it to be "lost in translation") is that if non-experts have a passion for their city and dare to expose themselves to the wider Internet public, then why don't we see many more projects proposed by the real experts?

Change comes first as a mental process and then as an attitude. Then it starts affecting reality. And what we do here is to create the mental context in which new ideas will flourish. And you know what? slowly but surely we are succeeding!!!.

Concluding this section I wish to thank all the ones that contributed with the many hours of work they put in order to make the above images a reality!!!


VI. Epilogue

Because of their own vital lies and their strong convictions, some people in key positions, some 30 years ago decided that Athens did not need tall buildings or skyscrapers. Nowhere. Not for any viable reason. Then, according to the paradigms they used to structure their argumentation, they devised and fabricated reasons according to which skyscrapers were NOT needed in Athens. Then, they disseminated these reasons through a social information network that was very centrally controlled (newspapers, state television, universities, remember no Internet and Internet-based social media were in existence at the time).

Now, it is the very same people that resist change. Much older, much more fanatic and bitter, they are obsessed with the remains of a world that is doomed to perish, after having caused so much pain, injustice and backwardness to this country as a whole.

It would be useful for the education of everybody reading this to know, that contrary to the dominant beliefs and ideational memes that tantalized the Greek society over the last 30 years, the year 2010 marked the completion of the largest number of buildings of this type in the recorded history.

Many will say whatever they have to say, but the main event remains: Can so many nations and cities be so wrong and us being so right while the models of urban (and not only) developments that we followed ended up being disastrous for our well being over the last 30 years?

Will we walk the same path for another 30 years?

Now we know. And we will make it our mission for others to know too. As the older members of this forum already know:

Architecture that reaches for the skies is the product of visionary minds

Φάτε Ρίζες...

OMEYA, Japanac, Dimitrakis, waltergs7 liked this post

Last edited by gm2263; December 23rd, 2014 at 09:18 PM.
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Old July 31st, 2011, 11:08 AM   #2
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Φοβερή δουλειά GM
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Old July 31st, 2011, 11:11 AM   #3
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Γρηγόρη έκανες, για άλλη μια φορά, εξαιρετική δουλειά!
'Post Tenebras Spero Lucem'

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Old July 31st, 2011, 01:43 PM   #4
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Εξαιρετικό και λεπτομερές άρθρο! Μπράβο για την φοβερή δουλειά!!!

Παρεμπιπτόντως, για το Ελληνικό, εκτός από τη πρόταση της Vinci και η πρόταση του Τσαγκαράτου, έτσι όπως φαίνεται, μ'αρέσει πολύ.
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Old July 31st, 2011, 02:07 PM   #5
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Simply awesome, congrats!!!
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Old July 31st, 2011, 02:21 PM   #6
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Για μια ακόμη φορά εξαιρετική δουλειά έκανες Γρηγόρη
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Old July 31st, 2011, 04:20 PM   #7
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Όταν λεω εγώ πως στο πρώτο μεταπολιτευτικό ουρανοξυστη που θα χτιστεί , πρέπει στην είσοδο του να τοποθετηθεί το άγαλμα του Γρηγόρη τιμης ένεκεν, κάτι ξέρω...

Μακάρι αυτο το κείμενο να διαβαστεί απο αυτους που πρέπει.

Μπράβο ρε Γρηγόρη.

Εξακολουθεί όμως να είναι ΤΡΕΛΟ και ΛΥΠΗΡΟ, να παλεύει ένας άνθρωπος και ένα forum για τη κατάργηση του άθλιου οριου υψους των 27 μέτρων, ενω αυτοι που θα έπρεπε να το κάνουν, (βλ Π.Μηχανικοι - αρχιτέκτονες κτλ) κοιμήθηκαν τον ύπνο του δικαίου.

Πραγματικά ΑΔΥΝΑΤΩ να καταλάβω το λόγο, γιατι οι πιέσεις στο κράτος απο τη πλευρά τους ηταν τοσο χαλαρές και ήπιες. Η τεχνογνωσία υπάρχει, και θα έβγαζαν και μεγαλύτερο κέρδος ως επιχειρηματίες με τις κατασκευές ψηλών κτιρίων.

Αν δεν αλλάξει ΤΩΡΑ το όριο ύψους (λογω ΤΡΟΙΚΑΣ) δεν θα αλλάξει ποτέ φίλτατοι...


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Old July 31st, 2011, 04:39 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Alexandris View Post
Όταν λεω εγώ πως στο πρώτο μεταπολιτευτικό ουρανοξυστη που θα χτιστεί , πρέπει στην είσοδο του να τοποθετηθεί το άγαλμα του Γρηγόρη τιμης ένεκεν, κάτι ξέρω...
Άσε ρε θα με βλέπουν και θα φεύγουν τρέχοντας :p. ¨Ασε να βάλουμε κανένα όμορφο ή όμορφη μπας και πιάσουμε κανένα πελάτη, οι καιροί είναι δύσκολοι...

Thanks anyway

Φάτε Ρίζες...
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Old July 31st, 2011, 06:28 PM   #9
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χίλια μπράβο και από εμένα. Κατατοπιστικό και όσο μεγάλο πρέπει, για να δώσει τη σωστή εικόνα και διάσταση.

Πρέπει να φροντίσεις/ουμε όσοι έχουμε "άκρες" να προωθήσουμε αυτό το αφιέρωμα...

σε ευχαριστούμε και εμείς με τη σειρά μας, οι συμμετέχοντες στο διαγωνισμό photoshop Κηφισίας/Α. Οδού για την αναγνώριση και ευκαιρία. Ελπίζουμε να κουνήσουμε κάποια μυαλά με αυτή τη μικρή συνεισφορά.

Alexandris, πολύ χαμηλά πετάν τα αεροπλάνα σου και μας πήραν τα αυτιά! - φοβερές οι σκιές τους!
επίσης μπράβο και στον son of sparta και σε σένα για τη δουλειά σας και στο ότι βάλατε και αστικό εξοπλισμό και προσθέσατε και πράσινο.
Εγώ δε το σκέφτηκα.
Φόλα στους μικρούς και σε αυτούς που μας θέλουν μικρούς
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Old July 31st, 2011, 06:42 PM   #10
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Φοβερός... Μπράβο σου Γρηγόρη, μακάρι να το δουν μάτια που πρέπει...

Επίσης θα συμφωνήσω με τον csath, η πρόταση του Τσαγκαράτου για το Ελληνικό μου φαίνεται τελικά καλύτερη και από αυτή της Vinci
Μη προτρεχέτω η γλώττα της διανοίας ~ Think before you speak
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Old July 31st, 2011, 07:40 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Alexandris View Post
Εξακολουθεί όμως να είναι ΤΡΕΛΟ και ΛΥΠΗΡΟ, να παλεύει ένας άνθρωπος και ένα forum για τη κατάργηση του άθλιου οριου υψους των 27 μέτρων, ενω αυτοι που θα έπρεπε να το κάνουν, (βλ Π.Μηχανικοι - αρχιτέκτονες κτλ) κοιμήθηκαν τον ύπνο του δικαίου.
Όχι μόνο ένας άνθρωπος αλλά οι πιο πολλοί εδώ θέλουμε την κατάργηση του ορίου των 27 μέτρων. Και ελπίζω μιας και ο Γρηγόρης άνοιξε το Athens Skyscrapers and Highrises, #3 ελπίζω οι αλλαγές να έρθουν γρήγορα.
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Old July 31st, 2011, 08:44 PM   #12
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Εύγε (ως συνήθως!) αλλά με μια παρατήρηση - κάτι που το έχεις πει κι εσύ άλλωστε: οι λήψεις από ψηλά ,ειδικά οι πολύ ζουμαρισμένες, αδικούν πολύ την πόλη. Στις εικόνες που περιγράφεις ως "Views of the concrete jungle within the Inner Athens areas. Two photos taken from the Attikon Alsos Hill. Images speak for themselves.....Not all of Athens consists of the ugly blocks depicted above though" περιλαμβάνεται και η...Φωκίωνος Νέγρη, από τις πλέον πράσινες ζώνες της Αθήνας, που, μαζί με τις γύρω περιοχές, έχει μερικές από τις ωραιότερες πολυκατοικίες της πόλης. Χρειάζεται προσοχή να μην απαξιώσουμε ό,τι καλό άφησε ο 20ος αιώνας στην πόλη, γιατί αυτό ακριβώς έκαναν και τον 20ο αιώνα για το 19ο - με τα γνωστά αποτελέσματα... Δε θέλουμε ουρανοξύστες για να "αντικαταστήσουμε" την Κυψέλη, το Παγκράτι, τα Εξάρχεια - τους λίγους πυρήνες αστικής ζωής και συνέχειας.. Τους θέλουμε για να αντικαταστήσουμε το απέραντο μεγαλοχώρι με τα κολλητά τριόροφα "κτήρια γραφείων" στο Μαρούσι και αλλού, με μια σύγχρονη μητρόπολη... Φυσικά, δεν τα λέω σε σένα αυτά, απλώς θέλω να προλάβω "παρεξηγήσεις" από κάποιον που ίσως με το που βλέπει μεγάλη πυκνότητα, σκέφτεται "φρίκη". Και να θυμήσω αυτές τις εικόνες πυκνότητας...San Francisco (από το net):

Παρίσι (δικιά μου φωτογραφία)

Η πυκνότητα είναι στοιχείο της αστικότητας - απλώς στην Ελλάδα (όπως και πάλι έχεις ήδη επισημάνει), καθίσταται προβληματική από το όλο "mess": παρκαρισμένα αμάξια παντού, κτήρια που έχουν να βαφούν 50 χρόνια κλπ κλπ...

στους μελλοντικούς μας scrapers...
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Old July 31st, 2011, 11:41 PM   #13
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Συμφωνώ και επαυξάνω.

κατ' αρχήν, η ανάκτηση του κέντρου πρέπει να είναι ένας θεμελιώδης και πρώτης προτεραιότητας στόχος. Δεν υπάρχει πόλη στον κόσμο που να μην έχει το κέντρο της σε κόσμια κατάσταση. Το δεύτερο είναι φυσικά η διατήρηση της συνέχειας κατά το δυνατόν του αστικού ιστού. Δεν είναι υποκρισία το να θες να βλέπεις την πόλη σου σε κόσμια κατάσταση ούτε θα διορθωθούν οι αδικίες αν μαζοχιστικά ζεις σε μια πόλη-κοπρώνα.

Όσον αφορά τις φωτό που διάλεξα: Επίτηδες τις διάλεξα, διότι δεν αναφέρω ΠΟΥΘΕΝΑ τη Φωκ. Νέγρη γιατί δεν είναι αυτό το θέμα μου, Αντίθετα, αναφέρομαι στο γεγονός ότι, όπως φαίνεται και από το Google, η ποιότητα του αστικού χώρου της Δυτικής Αθήνας είναι πάρα πολύ κακή και χρειάζεται ανάταξη. Μιλάμε για περιοχές που μπροστά τους η Φωκίωνος Νέγρη είναι Champs Elysees.

Να σου πω και κάτι: Μου αρέσουν γειτονιές του Παγκρατίου ας πούμε. Οι φωτογραφίες των πύργων που πήρα από ένα διαμέρισμα σε υψηλό όροφο απέναντι από το Άλσος Παγκρατίου ήταν απλά ένα μέρος μιας ευρύτερης ανακάλυψης. Το Παγκράτι είναι όμορφο. Η διασταύρωση Σπύρου Μερκούρη και Ευτυχίδου θυμίζουν πιο πολύ Ευρώπη από την... Ηλιούπολη ας πούμε. Το ίδιο και η Κυψέλη.

Εξάλλου εγώ θυμάμαι τα μάρμαρα των πολυκατοικιών που έμεναν οι θείοι μου στη Μηχ Βόδα και την Ιωάννου Δροσοπούλου όταν ήταν δεκαετίας και πενταετίας... Έλαμπαν!!! Όπως επίσης μου αρέσει η Μαυρομματαίων. Από τους πιο ωραίους Αθηναικούς δρόμους.

Δυστυχώς, αυτή η περιοχή του κέντρου έχει παραδοθεί στην παρακμή. Χαίρομαι που ο Καμίνης θέλει να το παλέψει αλλά φοβάμαι τη μικροψυχία των υπολοίπων.

Σε κάθε περίπτωση δε μπορούμε να λέμε να κατασκευαστούν τα κτίρια της νέας χιλιετίας στο Ελληνικό ή την Κηφισίας και να μην έχουμε και το νου μας στο κέντρο. Πόλη χωρίς κέντρο είναι πόλη χωρίς ψυχη. Τελεία και παύλα.
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Last edited by gm2263; March 22nd, 2013 at 11:18 AM.
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Old August 1st, 2011, 01:50 AM   #14
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Έτσι ακριβώς. Χαρακτηριστικό στοιχείο πολιτισμένης ευρωπαϊκής πόλης είναι το προσεγμένο κέντρο και οι περιοχές οικοδομικής/επιχειρηματικής ανάπτυξης με ψηλά κτήρια σε κάποια περίχωρα. Εμείς προς το παρόν παίρνουμε μηδέν και στα δύο...
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Old August 1st, 2011, 05:14 PM   #15
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...μερικές παρατηρήσεις που ενδεχομένως πολύ θα ήθελαν να μου τις πούνε κάποιοι φίλοι εδώ αλλά δεν το κάνουν λόγω σεβασμού στον όγκο δουλειάς που απαίτησε το εναρκτήριο thread.

1. Διαβάζοντας όλα τα παραπάνω κάποιος θα μπορούσε να πει ότι το κείμενο δεν έχει κάποιο συγκεκριμένο στόχο. Το "δια ταύτα" δηλαδή ποιο είναι. Να γίνουν ουρανοξύστες; Να μη γίνουν; Που να γίνουν; στην Κηφισίας, στον Ελαιώνα, στο Ελληνικό; που; Να περιμένουμε λόγω κρίσης; Να μην περιμένουμε; Τι να κάνουμε τέλος πάντων;

2. Αυτός ο "διαγωνισμός" τι σκοπό είχε; άσκηση επί χάρτου ήτανε; Πρόκειται ποτέ να δούμε τέτοια πράγματα στην Κηφισίας ή οπουδήποτε αλλού; Ποια είναι η αξιοπιστία ενός πονήματος για τα ψηλά κτίρια όταν φιλοξενεί τόσο απλησίαστες προτάσεις (για να μην πούμε για την "αρχιτεκτονική" των κτιρίων, όπως με κακιούλα θα σημείωναν ορισμένοι αυστηροί κοκ)

Εδώ θα μπορούσε να ισχύσει το "όποιος ψάχνει να βρει, βρίσκει".

Κατ' αρχάς το κείμενο δεν είναι ακαδημαϊκό πόνημα οπότε και δεν χρειάζεται να ακολουθεί τα στενά όρια μιας διατριβής ή εργασίας. Είναι περισσότερο μια προσπάθεια κατανόησης των πραγμάτων από ένα μεγάλο κοινό, Ελληνικό και διεθνές. Το συγκεκριμένο φόρουμ επίσης δεν είναι και ποτέ δεν θέλησε να είναι ένας ημι-ακαδημαικός κόμβος όπως είναι πχ ο ΑΞΙΟΛΟΓΟΤΑΤΟΣ ιστοχώρος του Council for the Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat όπου και όλα τα δημοσιευόμενα papers έχουν και άλλη βαρύτητα. Αντίθετα, το skyscrapercity έχει εξελιχτεί κυρίως σε ένα βήμα του ευρύτερου κοινού όπου με γλαφυρή γλώσσα παρουσιάζουμε τις απόψεις μας και τις κάνουμε γνωστές σε όλο τον κόσμο που ζητάει να δει, να μάθει και να συσχετίσει, σε όλους εκείνους που έχουν κάνει επί τούτου αλλά και γενικότερα την κλασική ερώτηση "μα γιατί στην Ελλάδα δεν..." (συμπληρώστε ότι θέλετε).

Σε αυτό το πνεύμα, κάποιες λιγότερο ρεαλίστικές αλλά και κάποιες περισσότερο ρεαλιστικές προτάσεις πρέπει να βρουν τον τρόπο να φανούν σε ένα ευρύτερο κοινό. ΟΚ, μπορεί τα παραπάνω photoshops να μην αρέσουν σε ορισμένους αν και εγώ τα διασκέδασα πολύ, ξεχνώντας ίσως ότι προέρχονται από μη αρχιτέκτονες οι οποίοι καθ' υπέρβαση του ελεύθερου χρόνου τους σχεδιάζουν με το photoshop ή αλλα εργαλεία.

Δεύτερον, το που μπορούν να γίνουν παρόμοια κτίρια και το πως είναι μια ατέρμονη συζήτηση η οποία συνεχίζεται αενάως και στο Athens Skyscrapers and Highrises 1, και στο Athens Skyscrapers and Highrises 2 οπότε, αν και μισώ να παραπέμπω σε τόνους υλικού, εν τούτοις καλό θα ήταν να διαβάσει κάποιος τουλάχιστον το εναρκτήριο thread του πρώτου μέρους καθώς και τις δέκα-15 τελευταίες σελίδες του δεύτερου μέρους για να καταλάβει που βρίσκεται τη στιγμή αυτή η συγκεκριμένη υπόθεση (με μια λέξη: στο πουθενά). Οπότε, παραφράζοντας μια φράση από το Star Wars Episode II "we will report nothing until there is something to report".

Όσον αφορά το διαγωνισμό τώρα: καλώς έγινε. Πρέπει να συνηθίζουμε να εξασκούμε την αντίληψη του κοινού στο ότι μπορεί να κατασκευαστούν στην Αθήνα ψηλά κτίρια. Ίσως όχι τόσο "Dubai-esque" όπως φαίνονται εδώ πέρα αλλά κάτι θα γίνει.

Για να φέρω ένα παράδειγμα.

Προτείνω λοιπόν επάνω στο στρογγυλό της Κηφισίας - Αττικής οδού, ένα 40όροφο ξενοδοχείο που θα συνοδεύεται από 30όροφο κτίριο γραφείων. Το συγκεκριμένο θα είναι καθαρά συγκρότημα συνεδρίων και θα έχει και συνεδριακό κέντρο 10-15.000 θέσεων. ΔΕΝ θα έχει εμπορικά καταστήματα ΑΛΛΑ θα συνδέεται με minibus με το Golden Hall, το Avenue - Carrefour mall, και το media markt. Θα συνδέεται και με τους κινηματογράφους ODEON οι οποίοι δύνανται να "εγκολπωθούν" στο συγκρότημα.

Μα θα αρχίσουν τα "μα" και τα "μου", είναι πολλές οι ιδιοκτησίες, το Λουνα-Παρκ, κάτι σπιτάκια, σουξου μουξου.

Η ουσία είναι: Θέλουμε να γίνει δουλειά; ΕΚΕΙ πρέπει να γίνει, Με ΑΥΤΟΥΣ ΤΟΥΣ ΟΡΟΥΣ πρέπει να γίνει ΓΙΑ ΕΚΕΙΝΗ ΤΗΝ ΠΕΡΙΟΧΗ. Όπου υπάρχει απευθείας σύνδεση με το αεροδρόμιο, το κέντρο και το Λιμάνι μέσω προαστιακού, και έπεται και η περίφημη γραμμή 4 του μετρό αν και οπότε γίνει. Τι να κάνουμε. Έτσι κάνει ο πολιτισμένος κόσμος . Μαζί με τα πάρκα του, τις υπηρεσίες πρόνοιας του, την κοινωνική πολιτική του. Έτσι θα έκαναν (και κάνουν) από τη Λισσαβώνα μέχρι το Τόκιο. Τώρα αν θα είναι 30 ή 60 τα πατώματα εξαρτάται από το μέγεθος της πόλης και τη δυναμική της. Πάντως, αν μιλούσατε σε οποιονδήποτε σοβαρό και μη ιδεοληπτικό αρχιτέκτονα - πολεοδόμο για το συγκεκριμένο το σημείο σε οποιονδήποτε σχετίζεται με αστικό σχεδιασμό για κάτι τέτοιο θα σας μιλούσε. Ναι. ΣΙΓΟΥΡΑ δε θα πρότεινε διώροφα κουτάκια ή εκθέσεις αυτοκινήτων όπως είναι τώρα. Και μακάρι να τα κρατάνε επίτηδες έτσι για κάτι μελλοντικό.

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Last edited by gm2263; August 1st, 2011 at 06:42 PM.
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Old August 1st, 2011, 06:40 PM   #16
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υπάρχει και το άλλο διπλό plot διαγώνια σε αυτό που επισημένεις, που προσφέρεται. Αυτή τη στιγμή εκεί υπάρχει μια έκθεση της Οπελ που έχει κλείσει και δίπλα ένα φυτώριο!!!! ΝΑΙ ΦΥΤΩΡΙΟ σε μια τόσο νευραλγική θέση. Στη φωτογραφία διακρίνονται και τα θερμοκήπια του φυτωρίου.
Ο δρόμος που χωρίζει αυτά τα 2 οικόπεδα μπορεί κάλιστα να ενσωματωθεί στην ανάπτυξη που θα γίνει εκεί (εννοώ κάτω από τα κτήρια).

Και θέλω να ελπίζω ότι οι ιδιοκτησίες αυτές έχουν φυλαχθεί για μελλοντική αξιοποίηση όταν αρθεί το όριο ύψους.

....και συμφωνώ, αυτά που κάναμε στο photoshop ήταν ένα παιχνίδι. Για να μπορεί να εξοικιωθεί και το μάτι του έλληνα με εικόνες της Αθήνας που σε κάθε άλλη Ευρωπαική μητρόπολη είναι φυσιολογικές. Θα διαφωνήσω με την επισήμανση του Γρηγόρη περι Dubai. Με εξαίρεση ένα λιγο kitsch κτήριο που έβαλε ο son of sparta, τύπου Dubai, όλα τα υπόλοιπα δεν ξεπερνούν τα 200μ και μπορούν κάλλιστα να γίνουν στην Αθήνα.
Τέλος να επισημάνω ότι η τελευταία δική μου φωτογραφία του photoshop, η οποία δεν φαίνεται τόσο όμορφη, περιέχει επεκτάσεις υπαρχόντων κτηρίων της αρχικής φωτογραφίας στα σημεία αυτά. Γι' αυτό και φαίνεται κάπως ψεύτικη.
Φόλα στους μικρούς και σε αυτούς που μας θέλουν μικρούς

Last edited by vas8; August 1st, 2011 at 06:52 PM.
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Old August 1st, 2011, 06:58 PM   #17
The Jedi Will Rise Again
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Μα δε μιλάω για τις δουλειές σας. Μια χαρά είναι!!! Μιλάω ότι επειδή οι Έλληνες είμαστε λίγο ανάδελφοι σε ορισμένα πράγματα, κάποιοι θα πιαστούν από αυτά που βλέπουν, θα χάσουν την ουσία και θα κυνηγάνε ανεμόμυλους.

Πάρτε το χαμπάρι:

ΟΤΙ ΚΑΙ ΝΑ ΒΑΖΑΤΕ, "DUBAI" ΘΑ ΤΟ ΛΕΓΑΝΕ!!!. Μην κολλάς εκεί. Λογικό είναι, αν το αναθέσεις σε αρχιτέκτονα επιπέδου, από αυτούς που όλοι θέλουν να έλθουν στην πόλη τους εκτός από κάποιους Έλληνες συγκεκριμένης ηλικιακής κατηγορίας και ιδεολογικού προσανατολισμού, και του πεις "κάνε μου ψηλά κτίρια με αυτές τις προδιαγραφές" αυτός θα έλθει, θα κοιτάξει την περιοχή, θα δει τι "παίζει", θα δει τις παραμέτρους του τοπίου εφόσον δεν υπάρχουν άλλα τέτοια, και θα σχεδιάσει.

Μη δικαιολογείστε για τίποτα. Στα δικά μου τα μάτια, πιο παράλογο είναι αυτό που βλέπω μπροστά μου σήμερα, από οποιοδήποτε σχέδιο έχω δει από φίλους.
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Last edited by gm2263; August 26th, 2011 at 12:46 PM.
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Old August 1st, 2011, 08:05 PM   #18
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Impressive and fantastic work Grigoris.A MUST read for every Greek.I congratulate you .!!!


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Old August 1st, 2011, 08:53 PM   #19
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Εξαιρετικός και κατατοπιστικός όπως πάντα, Γρηγόρη, ευχαριστούμε πάρα πολύ για την καταπληκτική δουλειά που αποτελεί, πιστεύω, την απαραίτητη βάση για οποιαδήποτε συζήτηση περί "υψηλών κτηρίων" και "ουρανοξυστών" στην Ελλάδα. Εύγε.
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Old August 1st, 2011, 08:56 PM   #20
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Μπράβο gm2263, φοβερή δουλειά.
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