Dimitris Pikionis’s garden for children welcomes fun and games, once again

One of the most important later works by architect Dimitris Pikionis (1887-1968) was reincorporated into city life last Friday. Following a long period of abandonment and disrepair, the Filothei Garden for Children – which was constructed between 1960 and 1964 – entered a new period, thanks to action taken by the Municipality of Filothei, on the one part, and the care of Agni Pikioni, the celebrated Greek architect’s daughter. The garden displays all the elements of Pikioni’s architectural philosophy: elements of improvisation; the use of natural materials such as wood, stone and marble; as well as a dedication to tradition and to humanity: Everything in this garden devoted to children was designed in order to facilitate their play and enjoyment. The first phase of the garden’s regeneration included a study of the garden in the state it was in prior to any work, and the second, a presentation of a complete plan for its renovation. This was carried out by a research team from the National Technical University of Athens, led by architect and Associate Professor Solon Xenopoulos, while architect Agni Pikioni was in charge of of the scientific part of the project. The main construction took place during the project’s second phase, in accordance with the conclusions reached by the technical university study under the direction of civil engineer Constantinos Gonis. Coinciding with the garden’s reopening is a special edition dedicated to the «Kindergarten,» published by Indictos Publications. The book, which was edited by Agni Pikioni, includes old and new photographic material, covering the entire period from the garden’s initial design to its recent renovation. Last week’s opening was further accompanied by a series of events which took place over the weekend, including a concert by Mariza Coch, educational activities by the Greek Children’s Museum and outdoor games. One question that remains unanswered concerns the garden’s maintenance, though the Municipality of Filothei has decided against putting up a fence to protect the area. The decision shows consideration of the late architect’s spirit, as well as the hope that both residents and guests visiting will demonstrate the necessary respect.