A collection of cultural venues more by chance than true design

The badminton court is the first Olympic venue to be put to use since the Games. In less than nine months, the metal frame will become an ultra-modern theater – the biggest in Greece, seating 2,500 – and ready for large-scale productions. It is more by chance than through any organized plan that a significant cultural nucleus is evolving outside central Athens, whose periphery borders the National Glyptotheque sculpture park. And more uses may be added in the future, since the fate of three buildings listed for preservation remains undecided. When the badminton venue was handed over, local associations that are campaigning for the creation of a metropolitan park became even more suspicious. Christos Hadziemmanouil, president of Olympic Properties, the company that manages most of the Olympic Games venues, commented: «In the runup to the Games, the badminton venue was incorrectly treated as possibly being of a temporary nature. That was never clarified and the matter was left in abeyance. You can see that both the technical nature of the structure and the excessive cost to the taxpayer of the Olympic venue at Goudi made demolition impossible. «So in planning how it would be used after the Games, the starting point was to find solutions that would enable a smooth, permanent operation with sustainable, functional uses. In any case, those uses had to be in line with the overall aim of refurbishing the area and creating a metropolitan park which would encompass facilities for culture, amateur sports and recreation, without further building and by making use of the existing infrastructure.»

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