Technical University generates frustration

Thirty-five years after the restoration of democracy, it is hard to believe that the Greek state has yet to decide what to do with the main building complex of the National Technical University of Athens (NTUA), the site of the «Polytechneio» uprising that brought down the junta. The building on Patission Street is not only a fine example of 19th-century Greek architecture, it is also a monument of historic significance. It may have nurtured generations of architects since the Architecture School was founded in 1917 but, in the minds of many, it no longer recalls the prestige it once had. Though the main Averoff Building is being restored, the overall impression is one of neglect. There is a general lack of esteem for the large buildings that made Athens look like a capital city some 100-150 years ago. The university, designed by Lysandros Kaftanzoglou, represents a high point in neoclassical architecture. However, neither it nor the three academic buildings on Academias Street play the part they ought to in the Athenian cityscape of today. Apart from the destruction of the university’s prytaneum by arson in 1991, nothing else has prompted public debate on the architectural and historical value of the building. In general, the lack of interest says a lot about the way this society treats the city. Kathimerini sought a range of opinions from architects, academics and students who are in some way connected to the NTUA.

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