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RS Architecture + Design Studio

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Landscape Study in Athens Conservatoire

Landscape Study

The Athens Conservatoire, commonly referred to as Odeion, is part of an unrealized urban plan that won the architect Ioannis Despotopoulos first prize in a competition held for the Athens Cultural Center in 1959. The project was one of the most compelling propositions of modern Greek architecture, furthering the vision of Central European rationalism and postwar attempts at broad-minded cultural policy (see the Maison de la culture by André Malraux, in France). Despotopoulos envisioned a national theater, congress center, museum, library, and an open-air theater in close proximity to each other in the city center of Athens. Nevertheless, as the larger plan was never implemented, the architectural identity of the Athens Conservatoire building—situated amid its unrealized relations—can be difficult to comprehend. Athens Conservatoire, as a musical institution, was founded in 1871 by the Athens Music and Drama Society. Only two instruments were taught—the flute and the guitar, corresponding respectively to Apollonian and Dionysian aesthetic principles. Whether Despotopoulos sided with Dionysus’s principles by citing the guitar neck as his inspiration for the design of the Athens Conservatoire building remains an open question. Investigating the details of the full length of the open horizontal structure, one finds rhythmic incisions that turn its modern architecture into a musical score for students, faculty, and other inhabitants.

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Architectural Sketches


Landscape Architecture


Athens Cconservatoire