Athens Project 2012
Reclaiming Eleonas: The Urban Enclave of Athens
Workshop: June 1-15, 2012
3rd Athens Summer Workshop, 2012
Princeton University & University of Patras
The 1st Athens Workshop "Mapping Athens in the 21st Century" successfully analyzed and documented the constitution of Post-Olympic Athens -what could be called “Diffused Athens”-based on five themes/constituent elements: networks, large objects, landscape, public space and people.
The 2nd Athens Workshop "Athens Waterfront-The Faliron Bay" further expanded the analysis by adding "water-front" as a sixth, key-element and dealing with the way the city meets the sea along Faliron Bay, a four-kilometer strip of landscape that includes major infra-structure, two river estuaries, Olympic Stadia and extended no-use seafront pieces of land.
The 3rd Athens Workshop "Reclaiming Eleonas: The Urban Enclave of Athens" will deal with Eleonas, the city's ancient Olive Grove, an extended formless, undefined, often invisible area, characterized by environmental and infrastructural decay, located only two kilometers west of the center of Athens. Since the ancient times, Eleonas was a sacred fertile land irrigated by underground streams parts of a dense network of creeks and rivers that covered the Athens basin. Continuous urban expansion since the mid· 19th century eliminated most of the area's green surfaces and replaced them with a random collection of manufacturing, storage, logistics and transportation facilities in constant flux. Eleonas is haphazardly shaped by these activities of industrial fencing, expansion and waste and the wake of major infra· structural vectors—water, traffic and rail. It is indeed an uncanny area awaiting intervention, an urban enclave to be reclaimed; Athens' most speculated·upon piece of real estate. Extra·large infrastructural objects are to be implanted there-the new stadium of Panathinaikos soccer team, the new inter-city bus station, the Metro depot, a new mega mall. At the same time, Eleonas offers leftovers of the Attic landscape that must be kept, upgraded and expanded, including the Botanical Garden of the Agricultural University of Athens and the stream of Prophet Daniel.
The area is extremely hard to navigate and visualize from the ground and does not offer evident or accessible architectural vantage points, obvious analysis methods or intervention loci. Thus the 3rd Athens Workshop will deal with the analysis/understanding of Eleonas' constitution and dual character, its role within the city and provide design proposals, in the form of initial strategies, for the entire area or selected parts of it.
M. Christine Boyer, Architecture and Urban Studies, Princeton University; Dimitri Gondicas, Hellenic Studies, Princeton University; Paul Lewis, Architecture, Princeton University; Spyridon Papapetros, Architecture, Princeton University; loannis Aesopos, School of Architecture, University of Patras; and Petros Babasikas *02, School of Architecture, University of Patras
Lydia Xynogala, Princeton University
University of Patras:
A small number (4-6) of Princeton graduate students currently enrolled in the first or second year of the M.Arch. program in Architecture will be selected to team-up with an equal number of students from the Architecture School of the University of Patras. The focus will be on both analytical and studio work. Explorations of the city neighborhoods and infrastructure networks will accompany discussions and talks by invited lecturers on urbanism and contemporary photography, as well as archival explorations at the Benaki and other museums. New open source media, internet blogs and free press will also give a new dynamic profile to the city. Two reviews of the studio work will be scheduled: mid-way into the workshop, and a final session.