From the Flat to the City: The Construction of Modern Greek Subjectivity


  • Platon Issaias Royal College of Art / Architectural Association



Athens is not built by large scale masterplans. Large public or private housing projects are nowhere to be found. Even an empirical observation of the city makes one thing immediately apparent: the city is defined by a construction model that is actualised by a singular building unit. The polykatoikia systems, is made of buildings, on average four to five storeys high, organized in irregular, fragmented plots in a patchwork of discontinuous grids, made of in situ, labour-intensive concrete frames, filled with bricks, plastered, something that ultimately looks like a stack of slabs with rather continuous balconies. The essay develops a critical reading of this model, presenting the way this domestic environment and distinct architectural typology mediated social conflict and economic development in post-war Greece. Architecture and urban management are presented here relating production with the role and the function of family and inheritance, the real estate market, law, and the construction industry.


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Author Biography

Platon Issaias, Royal College of Art / Architectural Association

Platon Issaias is an architect and educator. He studied architecture in Greece and he holds an MSc from Columbia University and a PhD from TU Delft. His thesis investigated the recent history of planning in Athens and the link between conflict, urban management and architectural form. He is currently a Tutor at the Royal College of Art, teaching design studios in the MA Architecture and MA City Design programmes. He is also a Unit Master at the Projective Cities MA in Architecture and Urban Design at the Architectural Association. Previously, he taught at the Berlage Institute/Rotterdam, the MArch Urban Design at the Bartlett, Syracuse University and the University of Cyprus.