CULTURE

Reconstructing the history of designing buildings

There were no advanced studies in architecture in Greece before 1917. Only in this year was architecture established as a subject of study, with the founding of the School of Architecture of the Athens National Technical University (NTUA). It marked the beginning of a full and exciting history. In the decades since then, thousands of architects have graduated from the historic institution on Patission Street. Renowned figures of the heroic years, such as Anastasios Orlandos, Alexandros Nikoloudis, Panayiotis Michelis, Dimitris Pikionis, Nikos Hadzikyriakos-Ghika, and Costas Kitsikis, who molded the architectural and aesthetic ethos of generations, have been linked with the school. For the first time, the NTUA is opening its archives, examining them, classifying them and displaying them in a major exhibition, titled «Architectural Studies at the National Technical University of Athens, 1917-1974.» ‘Recollections’ The exhibition will be formally opened on June 3 (at 7 p.m.) with an event that many will find moving. Of the early architects, Giorgos Nomikos will relate his «Recollections of Studies at the School of Architecture,» Alexandra Moreti will discuss the first Greek women architects, Dionysis Zivas will talk about the postwar years, while Maro Kardamitsi-Adami will present a chronicle of the foundation and development of the school. Kardamitsi-Adami and her fellow professors Manos Biris and Nikolaos T. Holevas compose the academic committee which assessed and put this gigantic volume of material into order. «For this exhibition, we had the great pleasure of being able to gather together a large number of student assignments which, in combination with the information found in the personal archives of the old professors and tutors of the NTUA, gave us the opportunity to put together the first historical overview of the School of Architecture,» writes Maro Kardamitsi-Adami in the exhibition catalog. «This historical overview is, of course, not complete; we do, however, hope that by continuing the research, which does not, of course, end with the exhibition, the gaps will be filled in.» Four units The exhibition was designed by the architects Y. Panetsos and N. Bouras and highlights four time periods. The first, 1917-1930, was dominated by the teachings of eclecticism and the precepts of the Beaux-Arts architectural school. The period 1930-1940 is distinguished by the gradual adoption of innovative modernism. During 1940-1945, the school’s staff team strengthened. The final period that the exhibition examines is that of the postwar years, 1945-1955, with the expansion of the courses and the development of building studies. Rare designs Young and old graduates of the school offered many of the exhibits, as did the Benaki Museum and the Archive and Library of the National Technical University. Rare student designs, documents, publications, old models, sculptures and paintings, and other artifacts compose this architectural panorama, which will be accommodated, all through the summer until October, in the historic Deanery – recently renovated – in a unified area of 350 square meters. Other speakers at the exhibition opening include the dean of the NTUA, Themistoklis Xanthopoulos, the president of the Technical Chamber of Greece, Constantinos Panayiotopoulos, the president of the Association of Architectural Graduates of Advanced Schools, Takis Georgopoulos, and the president of the Architecture School of the NTUA, Yiannis Polyzois.