The hazards of makeshift competitions

The case of architect Georgios Diamantopoulos, one of the team that conducted the study for Dionysiou Aeropagitou and Apostolou Pavlou streets is different. Diamantopoulos acknowledges that EAXA is promoting some very significant town-planning projects, but that does not prevent him from condemning interventions made from above during the work in pedestrianizing Dionysiou Aeropagitou, which he believes altered the spirit of the study. With a vast experience of architectural competitions, Diamantopoulos knows what he’s talking about. «The success of an architectural competition doesn’t depend so much on the competitors’ abilities,» he says, «as it does on the approach taken by the employer. A properly organized competition gives clear guidelines and specifications to the participants. It achieves a good result and minimizes the likelihood of mistakes. But when a competition is held just for show, in order to get publicity and without good preparation, the result is either that the award-winning plans are not implemented, or, if they are, that reasonable-sounding excuses are found to justify interventions. So, Athens is paying not for the inexperience of the architects but for the inexperience of whoever announced the competition. I’m not saying the award-winning entries were good or bad, but that if something is wrong, they are not to blame for having been chosen.»