Shrinking Athens

Shrinking Athens


In architectural culture ‘contemplating the future’ means ‘expanding’ or ‘adding more of the same’. A notable shift from this norm occurred in 1977 when the architect Oswald Mathias Ungers proposed a reverse approach. The project ‘Berlin: A green archipelago’ proposed the demolition of some parts of west Berlin -creating a green sea- while some other parts -in the form of islands- would be preserved and celebrated as ideal mini-cities. The scenario was based on the abandoned city centers of the 70’s, the specificity of West Berlin as a walled island and the urban voids inherited from the war.

Composing by erasing

Athens is used as a case study, as an imaginable shrinking city. What would be erased from a depopulated Athens? Which districts would be preserved and why? Is the idea of archipelago applicable in the case of Athens or should we look for alternatives? What would be the future of the preserved parts?

The cemetery of modern Athens

Eleonas is the biggest non-residential entity of the city, mainly functioning as a supporting area for metropolitan Athens. The needs of the shrinking city would make Eleonas current use irrelevant. A new hill will dominate the Athenian landscape. A pile of rubble.

Architects: Thanassis Manis, Yorgos Pantazis

Ongoing research project, Athens - Greece, 2017