Scholars' Association News
Issue 23
August 2012


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Rethink Athens: The Competition

Rethink Athens, the European Architectural Competition for the creation of a new city centre that is funded and organized by the Onassis Foundation is under way. The Competition started on Monday, May 21st, 2012 and the deadline for the submission of the first stage proposals is Friday, September 7th, 2012. It is open to participants coming from countries that are members of the EU and the European Economic Area (EEA), as well as countries that have signed agreements within the framework of activities of the World Trade Organization. It is organized under the auspices and in collaboration with the Ministries of Environment, Energy and Climate Change and of Infrastructure, Transport and Networks, the Attiko Metro S.A., the Region of Attica and the Municipality of Athens.

The Competition will be realized in two stages. During the first stage (Ideas Competition) the First Stage Jury will select up to eight proposals whose designers will qualify for the second stage (Concept Drawings Competition). In the second stage (Concept Drawings Competition), the candidates selected during the first stage will be invited to re-submit their design proposals, where they will further develop and elaborate the key ideas that were selected by the First Stage Jury. From among these new proposals, the Second Stage Jury will select three designs that will receive prizes. Each proposal selected to proceed to the 2nd stage of the Competition (Preliminary Drawings Competition) shall receive a honorarium of Twenty-Five Thousand Euros.

The First Stage Jury may also select one additional ‘utopian’ proposal to receive a honorary award of Ten Thousand euros, without entitling the participant to proceed to the 2nd stage of the Competition. Additionally, the Organizer may, if they so wish, redeem up to five additional proposals upon the recommendation of the First Stage Jury, without such recommendation being binding on the Organizer, for the amount of Five Thousand Euros each. The winners of the Competition will share cash prizes of a total amount of One Hundred and Sixty Thousand euros. The two juries comprise of distinguished Greek and foreign theoreticians of Architecture, artists and professors of the Athens School of Fine Arts, as well as the Mayor of Athens.

Chairman of the First Stage Jury is Professor Anthony Vidler, Dean of The Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture, Cooper Union School of Architecture, New York City. The rest of the members are Professor Ben-Joseph Eran, Professor of Landscape Architecture and Urban Planning Head, Joint Program in City Design and Development MIT, architect Alfredo Brillemburg, Guest Professor at the Graduate School of Architecture & Planning at Columbia University, Co-founder of the Sustainable Living Urban Model Laboratory at Columbia University, Urban Planner Yannis Evmolpidis, Special advisor of the Mayor of Athens in urban planning and regeneration, architect Konstantinos Moraitis, Assoc. Professor at the School of Architecture, National Technical University of Athens, Richard Plunz, Director of the Urban Design Program and Professor at the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning & Preservation, Columbia University, Charles Waldheim, John E. Irving Professor and Chair Department of Landscape Architecture Harvard University Graduate School of Design, Vana Xenou, Professor at the Department of Architecture, Painting Workshop, National Technical University of Athens, while the Onassis Foundation is represented by Marianna Moschou, Secretary of the Board.

Chairman of the Second Stage Jury is Peter Cachola Schmal, Director since 2006 of the Deutches Architekturmuseum (DAM). The rest of the members are Spiros Amourgis, Professor Emeritus and former Dean of the College of Environmental Design at California State Polytechnic University, Joan Busquets, Martin Bucksbaum Professor in Practice of Urban Planning and Design, Graduate School of Design, Harvard University, Georgios Kaminis, Mayor of the City of Athens, Georgios Lappas, Professor at the Sculpture Workshop, School of Fine Arts, Athens, Georgios Panetsos, Professor of Architecture and Urban Design, former Chair of the Department of Architecture, University of Patras, Dr.Anthony Papadimitriou, President of the Onassis Foundation, Mirko Zardini, Executive Director and Chief Curator at the Canadian Centre for Architecture and Yvette Masson Zanussi, Inspector of the French Ministry of Culture and Communication. More information regarding the Rethink Athens project is available through the project's website that offers the opportunity to the public, the residents and professionals of the City of Athens to discuss and express their opinions on this matter online through the social media (Facebook and twitter). Those who wish to participate in the Competition may visit the Competition's website at in order to submit their registration forms and download the technical folder of the Competition.

The Rethink Athens Project involves a pluralistic intervention at the center of Athens, extending from Amalias Avenue up to the end of Patission Street, having Panepistimiou Avenue as a main axis and culminating to a new Omonia square. 

Its main objective is to reverse the increasing downgrading of the center of Athens and breathe new life into it, through a multifaceted organizational scheme that will include entrepreneurial activity, services, permanent residence, recreation and culture, actions that will be encouraged to interact with each other. The extension of the intervention towards Amalias avenue, Omonia Square and Patission street, will form a ring that will connect the pedestrian street of Dionysiou Areopagitou and the new Acropolis Museum with the National Archaeological Museum, as well as the Omonia Square with the areas of Monastiraki and Thission, bringing together the liveliness of the contemporary city with the archaeological sites and tourism.

In the following article, Panayiotis Tournikiotis, Professor of Architecture at the NTUA, analyses the prospects and potential of a substantive upgrading that Athens still has in defiance of the hard times. Professor Tournikiotis is the scientific director of NTUA’s research program entitled ‘Modified characters and politics at the city centres of Athens and Pireus’, as well as scientific consultant of the Onassis Foundation architectural competition.

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