Neo-Traditional Greek Architecture
At the turn of the 20th century the quest for the definition of “greekness” and an authentic “greek” aesthetic led to a strong turn to traditional art and architecture. Coinciding with the dismissal of Neoclassicism as “too European” and the critical reception of modernism as “not local enough”, Greek architects and artists set out to find lessons of aesthetics in Byzantine temples and vernacular humble constructions.
Taking all through the 20th century, this involved key figures of folkloric studies, such as Angeliki Hadjimichali, as well as artists and architects, such as Aristotelis Zachos, Dimitris Pikionis and Aris Konstantinidis. Each with their own method and preoccupations managed to create noteworthy designs that re-interpreted and re-invented patterns and concepts borrowed from traditional Greek art and architecture.
Walk in a nutshell
The walk visits several of these works, along with locations in the center of the city that could be considered as an inspiration to the previous. This route emphasises the importance of tradition for 20th century greek architecture and attempts to show how contemporary quotidian culture still echoes a similar logic.
Walk duration: approx. 3 hours
Difficulty level: Easy
Areas covered: Syntagma, Plaka, Monastiraki
Meeting point: Syntagma square, by the central fountain (map here). Look for the docent carrying a Big Olive handbag
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“Every man’s work, whether it be literature or music or picture or architecture or anything else, is always a portrait of himself”
– Samuel Butler