3rd Athens Workshop

Reclaiming Eleonas: The Urban Enclave of Athens

Princeton University Seeger Center for Hellenic Studies and School of Architecture

University of Patras Department of Architecture

The 1st Athens Workshop “Mapping Athens in the 21st Century” successfully analyzed and documented the constitution of Post-Olympic Athens –what could be called “Diffused Athens”– based on five themes/constituent elements: networks, large objects, landscape, public space and people.

The 2nd Athens Workshop “Athens Waterfront – The Faliron Bay” further expanded the analysis by adding “water-front” as a sixth, key-element and dealing with the way the city meets the sea along Faliron Bay, a four-kilometer strip of landscape that includes major infrastructure, two river estuaries, Olympic Stadia and extended no-use seafront pieces of land.

The 3rd Athens Workshop “Reclaiming Eleonas: The Urban Enclave of Athens” will deal with Eleonas, the city’s ancient Olive Grove, an extended formless, undefined, often invisible area, characterized by environmental and infrastructural decay, located only two kilometers west of the center of Athens. Since the ancient times, Eleonas was a sacred fertile land irrigated by underground streams parts of a dense network of creeks and rivers that covered the Athens basin. Continuous urban expansion since the mid-19th century eliminated most the area’s green surfaces and replaced them with a random collection of manufacturing, storage, logistics and transportation facilities in constant flux. Eleonas is haphazardly shaped by these activities of industrial fencing, expansion and waste and the wake of major infrastructural vectors – water, traffic and rail. It is indeed an uncanny area awaiting intervention, an urban enclave to be reclaimed; Athens’ most speculated-upon piece of real estate. Extra-large infrastructural objects are to be implanted there – the new stadium of Panathinaikos soccer team, the new inter-city bus station, the Metro depot, a new mega mall. At the same time, Eleonas offers leftovers of the Attic landscape that must be kept, upgraded and expanded, including the Botanical Garden of the Agricultural University of Athens and the stream of Prophet Daniel.

The area is extremely hard to navigate and visualize from the ground and does not offer evident or accessible architectural vantage points, obvious analysis methods or intervention loci. Thus the 3rd Athens Workshop will deal with the analysis/understanding of Eleonas’ constitution and dual character, its role within the city and provide design proposals, in the form of initial strategies, for the entire area or selected parts of it.


Princeton University:

M. Christine Boyer, Professor (School of Architecture)

Paul Lewis, Assistant Professor (School of Architecture)

Spyros Papapetros, Assistant Professor (School of Architecture)

Dimitri Gondicas, Director (Center for Hellenic Studies)

University of Patras Department of Architecture:

Yannis Aesopos, Associate Professor

Petros Babasikas, Lecturer

Teaching Assistants:

Harris Biskos, M.Arch Harvard University

Angeliki Evripioti, MAUD Harvard University

Lydia Xynogala, M.Arch Princeton University