Kyriakos Krokos: Fassianos Building, Athens 1990-1995

O'Neil Ford Monograph Series 3

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Bibliografische Daten
ISBN/EAN: 9783803007186
Sprache: Englisch
Umfang: 144 S., 220 Farbfotos
Auflage: 1. Auflage 2011
Einband: kartoniertes Buch


Amongst a city dominated by a sea of balconied apartment buildings, insipidly filling the topography between the marginal hills, Athens possesses not only the incomparable monuments of an ancient civilization but also a handful of modern attempts at reconnecting to this intellectual and artistic achievement. Unperturbed by such a humbling task were a group of architects of the 20th century, to whom Kyriakos Krokos (1941-98) belonged. Like a handful of his colleagues, Krokos was inspired by Dimitris Pikionis' (1887-1968) abstracted poetry of ancient and folk culture, best seen in Pikionis' late work for the surroundings of the Acropolis. Kyriakos Krokos was born on the island of Samos, studied at the Polytechnic School in Athens, later in Paris with the painter Yannis Tsarouxis (1910-89). Krokos' close interest in the fine arts brought him into early contact with Alekos Fassianos (born 1935), Greece' foremost painter, with whom he shared the goal of developing a language from the subconscious continuity of anonymous Aegean culture, reaching as far back as Cycladic civilization. Fassianos and Krokos' intellectual exchange was documented in a remarkable exhibition of consanguine drawings in 1987. It was Fassianos who sponsored the realization of Krokos' first significant work in the adaptation and remodelling of a suburban apartment rooftop to an idealized artist's village (1978-79). A year earlier, Krokos was awarded the first prize in the competition for the Byzantine Museum in Thessaloniki (1977, 1989-93). It was to be his largest and most comprehensive architectural statement in terms of a new, free-standing building. However, the much smaller commission of the conversion and remodelling of a second Athenian apartment building (1990-95) belonging to the Fassianos family provided the experimental grounds for Krokos' architectural visions and details, many of which would also be realized in the Byzantine Museum. In this subsequent mixed-use building that includes a private art gallery and apartments, both Krokos and Fassianos have realized their vision of a quotidian urban life, in which art and architecture are mutually sustaining. The Fassianos Building then represents in nuce an altogether alternative view of culture, namely, the one that prefers reforming an existing piece of built fabric with the help of a profound vision for the present rather than the one that rejects a disrespected context in a pseudo-revolutionary manner. Krokos had a sculptor's penetrating vision: seeing in a rough block of stone the potential of a carefully hewn figure. Few commissions and even fewer architectural designs have transformed an otherwise harmless, not to say banal building into a radically different reality. While identical in structure and substance, the building's typology has been carefully adjusted and rectified in its syntax, many pre-existing elements have been exposed, some details have been added, and the result is a concise, precise piece of architecture. With this third O'Neil Ford Monograph, the Center for American Architecture and Design together with the O'Neil Ford Chair in Architecture at the University of Texas at Austin document another outstanding example of contemporary architecture. This third volume includes five essays and the reproduction of extensive hitherto unpublished archival material, and concludes with a comprehensive selection of photographs.