Planting a tree is an act of faith in the promise of a future, they say. So is building a house, or a street or a neighbourhood. What then is the promise of an old neighbourhood, where old houses, new dynamism, lost immigrants, artists, prostitutes, architects, developers, politicians, Greek nostalgia, Chinese bloom, Palestinian memory, hip clubs and ruins coexist in an ever-shifting flow?
The worn iron staircase of a ruined neoclassical house now stands in the middle of a field of gravel, surrounded by neoclassical ruins, 70’s apartment blocks, as well as the faded imprint of old habitation. The staircase is from the site itself. It used to lead to the apartments of a lower-middle-class house, typical of the area, which once housed the hopes of rural and urban families who moved to Metaxourgeio to work in the area’s industries. The staircase is slowly enveloped by creeping and climbing plants, into which it might eventually disappear.
This project, by the Athenian architecture and landscape architecture team doxiadis+, re-uses a found object on the site, combined with simple planting, to question issues of urbanity, nature, housing, change, and their relation to promise.