Reviving the historical memory and promoting the understanding among different cultures: The consolidation and transformation of two refugee settlements in central Athens

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The first half of the 20th century was a milestone in the historical, social and cultural development in Greece as it involved changes that still affect current policies. Among the most significant changes has been the massive influx from the East of refugees of Greek descent who had to be urgently accommodated in housing complexes like the ones in Alexandras Avenue in Athens. The modern architectural approach of the specific buildings, their symbolism, but also their prolonged abandonment, created the need for the development of an appropriate proposal regarding their preservation, reuse, rehabilitation and their reintegration in the surrounding urban fabric. The paper proposes the preservation and the rehabilitation of this settlement in consolidation with the neighboring “Stegi Patridos” refugee housing complex. The two complexes will create a cultural route and thematic park, the key elements of which will be the revival of historical memory, along with the promotion of the common elements among the different cultures involved, such as the Greek, the Anatolian and the Islamic culture of the present and past. The approach is based on the ever-increasing need for more qualitative living environment in large urban centers. It incorporates actions, such as: - the enhancement of the area’s public space, as a field of interaction and social participation, - the preservation and restoration of architectural heritage and - the integration of the new cultural pole as a living organism in the city’s everyday life. The intervention is anticipated to improve the image of Athens, while avoiding forms of gentrification in the area.
Book of proceedings: Annual AESOP Congress, Definite Space – Fuzzy Responsibility, Prague, 13-16th July, 2015
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