Greek Film Library to move into old theater

The Greek Cinema Library is set to turn a new page in 2006, when it will almost certainly be installed in its new home. The former summer cinema Lais in Metaxourgeio, which has been state property for two years, will be rebuilt from the foundations up to house the ultra-modern infrastructure of the new cinema library. The project is included in the Third Community Support Framework at a budget of 5.5 million euros. The first stage of the study is complete, and tenders will be called for in early 2005, according to library officials. Kathimerini presents the initial design, by architects Nikos Bellavillas and Vasso Trova. The building, a typical postwar factory, is a 783-square-meter single-story structure on the corner of Iera Odos and Megalou Alexandrou streets. In the past it was used by factories and warehouses. Up till 2003, it housed a petrochemical warehouse and a car repair shop. The Lais summer cinema used to be on the roof, accessed by a separate entrance on Megalou Alexandrou. The Lais opened in 1948. From time to time it held tributes to actors and musicians and it also was the venue for local beauty competitions. It closed in 1975. The new look may not resemble the indifferent, aged appearance of the building as it is now, but the goal of the two architects is to «completely retain the architectural and social character of the building.» Apart from the architectural features of the outdoor cinema (screen, service areas, bar, projection room, metal decoration and lights), all the facades of the building will retain their original form. The surfaces, entrance and external staircase and the modernist apertures will be restored. The existing building has enough interior height for new spaces to be built on two levels within the building. Hence, in its new form, the Cinema Library will dramatically increase and update its infrastructure: The covered area will expand to an area of 1,785 square meters, while the rooftop terrace will cover 700 square meters. The main entrance to the new library will be through the warehouse door on Iera Odos, which will make the most of its visibility on that main road. The entrance and foyer will be the hub of the foundation’s three principal activities, housing the cinema, museum and the library, which will also have an audiovisual collection. The cinema bar will be built in the same area. The main projection room is to have 200 seats, and there will be a smaller, five-seat area between that and the foyer for the library’s cine club. The outdoor cinema, with a view of the Acropolis, will have 300 seats and upgraded service areas to equip it as a venue for cultural events. The new Cinema Library will be fully accessible to people with special needs.