Culture Trip explores why architecture lovers in Athens should look beyond the obvious, and appreciate the modern design on offer in the city.
Athens is mainly associated with its ancient architecture. Given that the Acropolis looms large over the city, it is easy to see why. However, the antiquated design of Athens is to ignore its exciting modern structures on display.
Throughout Athens, it’s easy to find examples of Bauhaus, or even Bauhaus-inspired, architecture. The contrast between ancient buildings and these more functional, geometric offerings is striking.
The Bauhaus movement, founded by Walter Gropius, originated in Germany between 1913 and the mid-1930s. At the heart of Bauhaus was a harmony between the purpose of the design and the design itself. Throughout Athens, you’ll find examples of domestic buildings which reflect this.
Most notable, however, is the American Embassy in Athens, a structure designed by the movement’s founding father. The iconic building was erected between 1959 and 1961. The design was created to reflect the architecture of the Parthenon, bringing the history of Athens into a new perspective.
Stone pillars surround the building, which is otherwise made of glass. Today, the structure is more protected than how it was originally imagined. However, it remains an iconic landmark in the city and worth venturing to. Close by is the Athens Conservatoire, another example of public Bauhaus-influenced architecture. A little farther outside of the centre, there is also the Sotiria Hospital, designed by architect Ioannis Despotopoulos in 1931; its curved design offers another Bauhaus landmark in Athens.
In the early 1960s, Athens experienced a period of seismic architectural change. New apartment blocks were built up fast, and by the 1970s, the city’s landscape was wildly different from what it had been before. Many of the original 1930s Bauhaus buildings were torn down to make room for more modern blocks. However, some remain. They surprise you on street corners, where huge curved balconies will jut out from a block of uniformly designed apartment blocks.
A post shared by Ωδείον Αθηνών (@athensconservatoire) on Jan 2, 2018 at 3:42am PST
The modern design of the 1970s buildings also has roots in the Bauhaus ideology. The evolution of the landscape prioritised functionality over beauty. The structures are geometric and repetitive, often painted in burnt terracottas and shades of white. Areas such as Kolonaki and Neapoli offer an abundance of Bauhaus and Bauhaus-inspired domestic buildings.
To look across Athens now is to appreciate the nuanced layers of history that pervade the city. Next time you’re walking around the city, make sure to spend time investigating the modernity of the landscape as well as Athens’ rich architectural past. The impact of the Bauhaus marks a crucial turning point in the aesthetic of the city, with a lasting design legacy that is still felt today.
Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip
meet our Local Insider
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A GUIDE?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
WHAT DESTINATION IS ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET-LIST?
I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.