Effort to save Athens landmark

The Technical Chamber of Greece (TEE) yesterday sent a letter to Culture Minister Giorgos Voulgarakis, calling on him to reject a decision by the ministry's Central Archaeological Council (KAS) to demolish a protected art deco building in central Athens. Plans to knock down No 17 Dionysiou Areopagitou Street, along with an adjacent protected building, in order to open up the view from the new Acropolis Museum, are «a crime against our cultural heritage,» according to a statement issued by TEE, an association of engineers that advises the state. The decision by KAS, signed on August 30 but made public late on Wednesday, revokes state protection for the elegant structure, a listed building. In its letter to the minister, TEE asks Voulgarakis to help reinstate it as a protected building. Architects, conservationists and local residents have launched an online campaign to protect the 1930s building, along with an adjacent neoclassical house owned by award-winning composer Vangelis Papathanassiou, which is also slated for demolition. The buildings have to be removed to provide the desired «optical connection» between the new Acropolis Museum and the Parthenon, Cultural Ministry sources had been quoted as saying in July. The new museum, which is to open its doors to the public next year after long delays, currently has its view of the Parthenon obscured by the rear of the two buildings, which are rundown, unlike their impressive facades.