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Omonia Square

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

Omonia Square, Athens, Greece To describe the new design of Omonia Square as a tribute to minimalism is like calling a pile of horse manure a tribute to horses. Maybe the architects feel that the people of Athens are not sophisticated or visionary enough to understand their design which can 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 is a joke, or it's a test to see how much Athenians can take. This is supposed to be one of the showplaces of modern Athens and it looks like it was transported here intact from Albania in the fifties. Maybe because of the large number of Albanian refugees that hang around between Omonia and the train station the architects wanted to create an environment they would feel at home in. But let's give the Albanians some credit for having better taste, and realize they did not come to Athens to be reminded of the Hoxha regime.

There are some good things about the square. If you have a skateboard you will know what they are. I don't have a skateboard. If you are the kind of person who dislikes trees you will like the square. There are none. If you like large metal sculptures with dangling wires then you may like 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 has a raised section on its northern edge that actually hides 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 have 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 can't we show them something better than this 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. Since then they have added some flower boxes and a few trees in giant pots. But there are currently plans to change the square again. Let's hope they do a better job.

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