Big Olive hosted students and faculty from ETH Zurich from Sunday, March 16, through Saturday, March 22. The trip was organized by professors Emmanuel Christ & Christoph Gantenbein who visited Athens along with a team of collaborators and tutors as a part of their ongoing research on urban typologies. Athens and the typology of the polykatoikia (1) apartment building will be included in the third volume of a series of books compiling typical examples of “essentially anonymous’ metropolitan architecture.

The participants attended a variety of lectures, workshops, and discussions. They also participated in a design charrette geared towards building typology and the importance of local urban architecture. This was a wonderful opportunity for us in Big Olive to plan architectural walks and show of

f Athens’ rich and diverse architectural heritage. The walks provided were encompassing a wide variety of structures and sites as diverse as Greek temples, grand neoclassical houses, interwar and contemporary polykatoikias, industrial complexes, suburban villas and vernacular ottoman houses.

We are looking forward to the resulting book, where examples of polykatoikias will be compiled in an inventory (along with essential typologies of other metropolitan capitals), contributing to both an international debate and the local understanding of the man-made landscape that is Athens today.

(1) The term polykatoikia is a composite word, from poly, translated as multi, and the noun katoikia, dwelling. In Greek, polykatoikia stands for the multi-storey apartment building, eventually becoming a term that describes almost every housing building except for suburban single-family villas.

Text: Nikos Magouliotis & Nicolas Nicolaides
Photos: Yannis Zaras

Experience the sights, sounds, scents and flavors of Athens! Join our private and small group walks!

ETH Zurich fieldtrip to Athens