NEWS

Unique industrial monument

Gasometer D15 at Gazi is a rare piece of machinery from 1909. We have nothing else like it in Greece. It has motors, pipes, guides to raise and lower it, a metal dome and a masonry tank to store the gas. It is also one of the main elements of the gas factory’s equipment that has been listed for preservation, and it is protected by four Culture Ministry rulings. This is a serious reason, in my opinion, why it should be preserved. If a concert venue is built in its interior, it will destroy the historic machine and all its fixtures, foundations, tank, dome and pipes. All that will remain is the metal frame as the decorative outer skin of a new multistory cylindrical building. The obvious architectural failure with the other two gasometers on the Pireos Street side, which met the same fate, is proof enough. I believe that there is no need whatever to build a new concert venue in Gazi. The area is already showing signs of extreme saturation. There are already far too many entertainment venues and nightclubs catering to thousands on Iera Odos, in the neighborhoods of Metaxourgeio and Psyrri, as well as on Pireos. We are getting away from culture and into mass commercial nightlife entertainment. Today the gasometer with its black metal grid stands out as a landmark on the horizon of the Great Archaeological Walk [around the Acropolis]; it is visible from Kerameikos, the Ermou pedestrian zone and Pireos Street. It is a reminder of the former industrial character of the historic area. It is completely integrated into the historic landscape of the portal of Athens, and of the Technopolis-Gazi complex. It bothers nobody and the cost of maintenance is very low. The proposal is to erect a concrete cylinder in its place. The discrepancy is much too great to ignore. Nikos Belavilas is an architect and town planner, lecturer at the National Technical University of Athens and president of the Greek branch of the International Committee for the Conservation of the Industrial Heritage (TICCIH).