A sentimental integration : Dimitris Pikionis’ playground and its eastern origins

Zhang, Yingle (2018). A sentimental integration : Dimitris Pikionis’ playground and its eastern origins. "International Journal of Architecture and Urban Studies", v. 3 (n. 1); pp. 65-71. ISSN 2147-9836.


Title: A sentimental integration : Dimitris Pikionis’ playground and its eastern origins
  • Zhang, Yingle
Item Type: Article
Título de Revista/Publicación: International Journal of Architecture and Urban Studies
Date: 2018
ISSN: 2147-9836
Volume: 3
Freetext Keywords: Dimitris Pikionis; Athens; playground; oriental
Faculty: E.T.S. Arquitectura (UPM)
Department: Otro
Creative Commons Licenses: Recognition - No derivative works - Non commercial

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Between 1961 and 1964, the Greek architect Dimitris Pikionis (1887, Piraeus - 1968, Athens) designed and conducted one of his last works, the children¿s playground at Philothei district, Athens. In this garden-like playground located between residential areas and pine woods, Pikionis introduced expressive references to create a scenario that reveals a latent unity between two different cultures, the Western and the Eastern. Apart from those Byzantine archetypes that historically show a close affinity to Greek culture, the garden?s loose layout with meandering flagstone paths, the entry gate?s simple construction, the pure manifestation of panels and frames of the elevated pavilion, and those clear details on straw roof, wooden structure and stone footings, drive this exoticism to the remote region, evoking the images and spirit of traditional Japanese Zen gardens. Pikionis? early pictorial education in Munich and Paris offered him insights into Eastern and especially the Japanese culture. Oriental motifs subsequently became a recurring reference in his projects, as an ascent that first rose from the Athenian Open-Air theatre (1933), developed in the landscaping work at Acropolis (1951-1958) and came to its crest in the playground. By combining various methods of designing and building, the Greek architect systematically sought out the ?fundamentally and inevitably homogeneous? among different architectural traditions in this oneiric place. Pikionis took advantage of the topography, using geometric matrix of visual control to establish a layered structure in the garden space. This order results in a particular experience of movement that, from entry to the inner place, adapts to the ritual walk in Japanese tea gardens. Hybrid character also can be found in architectures, whose simplicity integrates construction of traditional Japanese villa and Greek vernacular houses. Then, the metaphorical ambience rendered by those symbolic elements, the straw hut, the wreckage besides dry pond, evokes Greek archaic images as well as the particular sentiment of ?quietness? in Zen spirit. Spatial order, constructive manner, materials and spiritual monuments are those factors that compose the oriental tone in this daily and casual site in Athens. Far more than a play of Japonesque, this ambitious yet humble-look garden stretches over time and space, over the history of modernity in relation to antiquity, echoing the remote world across its proper culture. The value conveyed by Pikionis half a century ago is still shinning today: to repudiate our habitual fixation on technology and globalization as aesthetic system, the practice of seeking the common value from individual traditions and fixing their differences into the universal backdrop is more necessary than ever before.

More information

Item ID: 51181
DC Identifier: https://oa.upm.es/51181/
OAI Identifier: oai:oa.upm.es:51181
Official URL: http://www.dakam.org/ijaus
Deposited by: Memoria Investigacion
Deposited on: 14 Jun 2018 10:28
Last Modified: 14 Jun 2018 10:28
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