Saturday, 8 August 2009
The path to the parthenon.
On my way back from Hydra I spent a day in Athens. Faced with the Parthenon, my first thought was of something I read for a history class. Apparently, the major difference between Roman and Greek ideas of space and monumentality is the angle of approach – while Roman perspectival depth is frontal, the Greeks often relied on a 45 degree angle of incidence. A Roman temple is accordingly supposed to be seen from this view, and not this one.
The last time I was in Greece was February 2006, and I noticed that the reconstruction of the acropolis had advanced a good deal in 3 years. Not only have large portions been reconstructed, but a number of elements have been recreated. The aim is what many might call an in-situ replica. Out-of-situ replicas already exist, Nashville is famous for advertising just how far it can miss the point. My thoughts on the perpetuation of buildings…
I loved the effect of the scaffolding, which turns Pericles’ dreams into modernist masterpieces. The Temple of Athena Nike has become a Greek Pompidou Centre. Compare with Nashville. The layering of hessian screens, cranes and construction machinery over the ancient stones blurs the limit of the ruins, and allows for an ambiguity of form that is quite amazing. Could this be some new style of architecture, some post-post-modernist (after Graves, after Moore, after Stirling) – where the ancient orders are not simply semiotic references, but the uncertain centres of hi-tech machines?