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Omonia Square

The New Omonia Square: What tha!!!????

Omonia Square, Athens, Greece To describe the last design of Omonia Square as a tribute to minimalism is like calling a pile of horse manure a tribute to horses. Maybe the architects felt that the people of Athens are not sophisticated or visionary enough to understand their design which could best be described as a concrete surface, a concrete wall, a weird metal sculpture and some boards. I have walked in the square, I have photographed it and I have visited it at different hours and seasons and I still don't get it.

One thing all Athenians agree on. Either the design was flawed or its execution was flawed or the whole thing was a joke, or a test to see how much Athenians can take. This is supposed to be one of the showplaces of modern Athens and it looked like it was transported here intact from Albania in the fifties.

There were some good things about the square. If you had a skateboard you would know what they are. I don't have a skateboard. If you were the kind of person who dislikes trees you will like the square. There were none. If you liked large metal sculptures with dangling wires then you may have liked the square, or the part of it with the large metal sculpture with dangling wires.

Another question about the square is the length of time it took to build it. This took a year? If I had three hard working Albanian's and a cement mixer I could have built it in a week though I would probably have used less cement and more trees. When the square was unveiled most people's reaction was "Yeah, but when is it going to be finished?"

Where are the fountains? Can we get the glassman statue back? Who approved these plans?

Omonia Square

Thanks Guys! Nice work.

But the worst thing about the square? One of the characteristics of Athens was that you be several miles down Patission St and Tritis Septembriou Street and walk towards the Acropolis, never losing sight of it. But the new Omonia Square had a raised section on its northern edge that actually hid the Acropolis from view when you walk up Tritis Septembriou. Think about it. For thousands of years you could walk from that direction with the rock of the Acropolis always in view, and these architects (or somebody's cousin or brother-in-law), decided that the view should be hidden. Is it arrogance or stupidity or both. I can't decide.

Anyway, I had a design for Omonia square. I got it from one of the most beautiful squares in Europe at the turn of the century. With the eyes of the world upon Athens shouldn't we have shown them something better than a pointless tribute to Eastern European industrialization? Maybe somewhere with trees and flowers and benches and maybe a fountain and a pond. Isn't there enough concrete in Athens?

Omonia Square

Turn of the Century Omonia Square

This article was written just before the 2004 Olympics when they unveiled the new Omonia Square. There is now a new Omonia Square again. It does not look like the postcard but the design is better than the last version.

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