The Antonopoulos Blue Polikatikia Exarhia Square
The Antonopoulos Blue Polikatikia is a historically preserved bauhaus building
- K. Antonopoulos apartment building (Blue Building)
- 61 Arahovis and 80 Themistokleous Sts, Athens,
- Architect and Civil Engineer
- Civil Engineer & Cheif Archetect:
- Kyriakoulis Panayotakos (1903-1982)
- Painter Spyros Papaloukas (1892-1957)
- Consultant Dimitris Pikionis (1887-1968), NTUA professor
- Did I say Architect and Civil Engineer K. Antonopoulos?
This building designed by Konstantine Antonopoulos is a benchmark work of Greek modernism. Situated on the square of the radically chic district of Exarchia, not far from the National Technical University of Athens (NTUA), it ranks among the first Athenian apartments to constitute a genuine expression of the radical principles and codes of the Modern Movement.
This work was praised by Le Corbusier who said of it:
"C’est très beau"
when he visited it in the construction stage, having come to Athens for the Fourth International Congress of Modern Architecture (IV CIAM).
The building consists of a basement, ground floor and six upper storeys. It includes 38 apartments of 16 different types and four ground floor shops on the side of the square. On the flat roof, in addition to the service areas, he created a lounge for the inhabitants, giving them a place for social contact.
The architect designed all the construction details and the built-in furnishings, apart from the wooden rolling shutters and the locks which, together with the sanitary ware and the special electrical installations, were ordered from Germany and Italy.
The building’s elevations show the influence of the central European Modern Movement. Their treatment is characterised by the harmonious synthesis of solid and void and the rhythmic alternation of closed and semi-outdoor areas, which lends them a mild plasticity.
The most impressive innovation on this building, however, and the one that received the sharpest criticism was its colour: deep blue and warm sienna.
These colours, the product of the artist’s collaboration
with his teacher, architect Dimitris Pikionis, and the artist
Spyros Papaloukas, from 1913 on were influenced by the radical
works of Bruno Taut and other European avant-gardists who
experimented with strong colours on buildings.
The blue paint on the elevations aged badly and its unfamiliar presence in the strong Attic light discouraged the continuation of this experiment and led to the "blue" apartment building being repainted in lighter colors.
(b. La Chaux de Fonds, Switzerland 1887; d. Cap Martin, France 1965)
Charles-Edouard Jeanneret-Gris was born in La Chaux de Fonds, Switzerland, 1887.
Trained as an artist, he travelled extensively through Germany and the East. In Paris he studied under Auguste Perret and absorbed the cultural and artistic life of the city.
During this period he developed a keen interest in the synthesis of the various arts. Jeanneret-Gris adopted the name Le Corbusier in the early 1920s. Le Corbusier's early work was related to nature, but as his ideas matured, he developed the Maison-Domino, a basic building prototype for mass production with free-standing pillars and rigid floors. In 1917 he settled in Paris where he issued his book Vers une architecture [Towards a New Architecture], based on his earlier articles in L'Esprit Nouveau.
From 1922 Le Corbusier worked with his cousin Pierre Jeanneret. During this time, Le Corbusier's ideas began to take physical form, mainly as houses which he created as "a machine for living in" and which incorporated his trademark five points of architecture.
During World War II, Le Corbusier produced little beyond some theories on his utopian ideals and on his modular building scale. In 1947, he started his Unite d'habitation.
Although relieved with sculptural roof-lines and highly colored walls, these massive post-war dwelling blocks received justifiable criticism.
Le Corbusier's post-war buildings rejected his earlier industrial forms and utilized vernacular materials, brute concrete and articulated structure. Near the end of his career he worked on several projects in India, which utilized brutal materials and sculptural forms. In these buildings he readopted the recessed structural column, the expressive staircase, and the flat undecorated plane of his celebrated five points of architecture.
Le Corbusier did not fare well in international competition, but he produced town-planning schemes for many
parts of the world, often as an adjunct to a lecture tour. In these schemes the vehicular and pedestrian zones
and the functional zones of the settlements were always emphasized.