City boundaries move south

The deindustrialization of Pireos Avenue and its transient architectural wealth have given the city new sites and pushed its notional boundaries further south. We saw this in the summer with the Athens Festival. The inclusion of the Tsaousoglou factory complex and the Irene Papas drama school among the buildings used for the festival familiarized many Athenians with hitherto unknown venues in the city. As Culture Minister Giorgos Voulgarakis stated, the ministry is negotiating with the National Bank (which owns the Tsaousoglou factory estate) for the use of the entire complex. And the five listed buildings on the property may also be used by the revitalized festival. Things are not quite the same on Syngrou Avenue, which has benefited from a new dynamism on the seafront. Apart from the National Museum of Contemporary Art (for which work on the site of the old Fix factory is due to start in December), private enterprise has played a leading part. The Alexander S. Onassis Foundation is building its House of Arts and Letters; a few months ago the Cinema Park multiplex opened the latest three-dimensional, interactive programs for pupils; and the Eugenides Foundation’s planetarium is a constant. The first Village multiplex on the coastline opened last Friday in the Faliron Delta next to Media Markt, and Babis Vovos is building a shopping mall on the site of the recently demolished Elfinco building.

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