CULTURE

Architects fear for Parnitha casino

One of the most prominent examples of Greek modernism – a leading work of the recently deceased architect, professor and Academy member Pavlos Melas – looks headed for demolition. Like an eagle’s nest hanging over the edge of a Parnitha plateau, Mont Parnes was built on commission by the Greek government between 1958 and 1961 as a «mountainous luxury resort.» Right from the start, it became a symbol of the country’s financial reconstruction. Through the Scientific Commission for the Architectural Protection and Environment, the Architects’ Association has been reacting strongly to the news that Mont Parnes is about to become history. The association is particularly worried by the ongoing ill-treatment of the architectural chapter of the 1955-1965 period, as expressed through public architecture (such as the Xenia chain), and is willing to put up a fight for the statutory safeguarding of this so-called architectural «spring.» Hyatt Regency Hotels, which owns the land, is already operating the casino and has major development plans for the area that are to be announced today. The smartening up of the surrounding natural environment, however, will not be balanced by destroying an architectural landmark. But following extensive damage by the 1999 earthquakes, Mont Parnes appears to be a money-losing endeavor, unprotected by the Greek state.