The vision to unify the buildings and grounds of the National Archaeological Museum and the National Technical University of Athens on Patission Street is not a new one.
Many past prime ministers, mayors, experts and journalists have voiced their support for the implementation of such a plan.
This is absolutely logical considering that the Archaeological Museum – the world’s greatest when it comes to Classical Greece – needs more space and that the NTUA no longer serves its students, as its schools – apart from the Architecture School – have moved and its grounds are now used as a hub for hoodlums.
Given this, the space between the museum and the NTUA could be developed as a cultural hub. Moreover, the implementation of such a plan would help the district of Exarchia return to normal.
Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis appears determined to move ahead with this plan and included it in his government’s policy statements, while Culture Minister Lina Mendoni has spoken on the issue.
However, they did not take into account that the NTUA still houses the offices of Architecture School professors and that they, and their colleagues, would prefer to stay there, rather than moving to the suburb of Zografou.
As a result, the professors formed a council to express their angst that the country’s political leadership is moving ahead with such a unification plan without consulting them.
And like so often in the past, the political leadership took a step back and tried to appease this tiny group, assuring that no one will move them.
We can accept that perhaps the government did not handle the issue properly and caught the NTUA administration by surprise, even though this is unlikely, sources suggest. Yet it is inconceivable that such a project may not be implemented for the sake of not inconveniencing a handful of professors.
This project could showcase the wealth of the Archaeological Museum, revamp the area, make use of the now practically deserted NTUA by giving it a new role and stem the destructive activities there of hoodlums.
Really, how can it be possible that nothing moves ahead in this country because of objections raised, for instance, by the Communist Party, with its opposition to the installation of wind turbines on Makronisos, or the reactions of a clutch of professors, as in the case of the NTUA, or because local communities, like in Keratea and elsewhere, resort to guerrilla tactics.
If the government really was concerned about the reaction of the professors and sought to appease them via State Minister George Gerapetritis, then it reacted wrongly, as did Mendoni, who stated that the “NTUA and the Architecture School will remain in their places” in central Athens.
Observing the aesthetic abuse of Athens, one is justified in wondering why the Architecture School should remain in the center of the city.
In any case, the state should find a building to house the professors.