Saturday October 25, 2014 Search
Weather | Athens
19o C
12o C
News
Business
Comment
Life
Sports
Community
Survival Guide
Greek Edition
The rebirth of one of Athensís 19th-century architectural treasures

By Dimitris Rigopoulos

I have often daydreamed, if I had the means, which of the many pre-World War II buildings around Athens that have been abandoned and abused I would choose to save. While a tough decision, I’ve always been pretty certain it would be the Athinogenis Mansion (Megaron Athinogenous) in one of the most run-down parts of downtown Stadiou Street, between Klafthmonos and Omonia squares.

I cannot remember it ever looking well-kept, even though it represents an important period of Greek history in the late 19th century and is the last architectural vestige of three buildings designed in Athens by French architects.
However, it seems I might have to find a new crumbling edifice to focus my daydreams on, as it appears a knight in shining armor has already stepped up to save the Athinogenis Mansion, because for the first time in two decades, a plan for the building’s restoration has been put forward that not only sounds reasonable, but also looks as if it may be getting under way, unlike numerous past failed efforts.

On paper, the owners of the emblematic building are four Cypriot companies – Korovina, Apure, Lagadia and Boyaca – but behind them, the plans for restoring the building belong to a well-known Cypriot shipowner who prefers to remain unnamed.
Crews have already started clearing the premises and the Culture Ministry will then carry out a study of its structural condition. Once it gets the green light, the owner can proceed with the study for its renovation.

What is known about the plan so far is that it will involve the complete restoration of the mansion itself and the construction of a new building in the courtyard at the back, which is currently occupied by auxiliary buildings added on to the original structure. In contrast to a plan presented in the 1990s by the building’s previous owners to use the space at the back for an eight-story building, this one foresees just five stories. It also sees the new building being placed around 6 meters from the original residence rather than up against it, so that there is room for a separate courtyard, which may possibly be used for a cafe or another such business. The overall plan is for the renovated building and its new addition to function as a single commercial space.

The Megaron Athinogenous was built during the 1880s and designed by a French architect whose name cannot be confirmed. Among other businesses, it housed the Ottoman Bank, one of the biggest lenders at the time, which adds to its historical value.

It is the last surviving building of three that had similar architectural characteristics. Together with the Vouros Mansion on the corner of Stadiou Street and Syntagma Square, where the Athens Plaza hotel currently stands, and the Skouloudis Mansion, now the King George Hotel, also on Syntagma – both pictured circa 1900 at right – the Athinogenis Mansion was built in the neoclassical style with Ionic columns and strokes of French baroque. All three were temples to an emerging middle class of wealthy diaspora Greeks and commissioned by influential families of that era.

The present state of the Athinogenis Mansion is disheartening, to say the least. Part of its roof has collapsed, most of the wooden flooring is gone, many of the exterior decorative elements have long since disappeared and the ornate inner staircase has also been destroyed. In contrast, the ground-floor spaces reserved for businesses are in relatively good shape. There are also traces of murals on the interior walls, especially on the ceiling of the arcade on the right, which is in excellent condition. The restoration will include all of the paintwork on the walls and ceilings.

ekathimerini.com , Thursday August 28, 2014 (14:10)  
Galaxidi: Silent eloquence
Acropolis Museum to put the daily lives of the ancients on display
Katerina Vrana embraces humor as wild as her hair
The business of luxury hospitality
Rackets corner souvenir market at the foot of the Acropolis
Itís just after 9 a.m. on a Wednesday morning and the parking lot in front of the Dionysos restaurant close to the Acropolis ticket offices is jam-packed, even though itís late October. More...
Local businesses come together to raise Zagorochoriaís profile
The Zagori Excellence Network, or ZEN, is a modern initiative that aims to promote Zagorochoria, an area encompassing 45 villages in the Pindus mountain range in Greeceís northwestern Epirus...
Inside Community
Inside Gastronomy
Inside Travel
SPONSORED LINK: FinanzNachrichten.de
SPONSORED LINK: BestPrice.gr
†RECENT NEWS
1. A win is a win is a win for Olympiakos
2. TAIPED waits for green light from Eurostat
3. Trade deficit shrinks on big drop in imports
4. SMEs unable to claim subsidies
5. Taxes kept growing in second quarter
6. Thessaloniki Port expects 2014 to be record year
more news
Today
This Week
1. Woman killed in tram accident in Floisvo, south of Athens
2. Clocks to go back 1 hour on Sunday
3. Venizelos slams Turkey for 'flagrant violation of international law' off Cyprus
4. ECB vies for third time lucky in European stress tests
5. ECB bank assessment to show 6-billion-euro capital gap, Citi says
6. Cyprus GDP upgrade seen as boosting bailout exit plans
Today
This Week
1. The past, present and future of the Greek debt crisis
2. Greeceís closed society is central to its current malaise
3. Greece must stick to reforms, says Schaeuble
4. At least 11 banks to fail European stress tests, three in Greece, report says
5. Cyprus to block Turkey's EU talks after EEZ violation
6. Samarasís crumbling Greek exit lacks backing from economists
†††Find us ...
††... on
Twitter
†† ††... on Facebook ††
About us  |  Subscriptions  |  Advertising  |  Contact us  |  Athens Plus  |  RSS  |   
Copyright © 2014, H KAΘHMEPINH All Rights Reserved.