The technical services programme of the Greek Organization of Tourism (E.O.T.) for the design and the construction of the hotels “Xenia”, which was initiated in 1950 by C. Sfaellos, was going to evolve between 1957 and 1967 into a genuine “workshop” of architectural thought, under the supervision of the architect Ares Konstantinides, head of the Planning Service, and with the invaluable co-operation of distinguished architects of the time. Based on a solid and substantial theoretical background, according to the scripts of Ares Konstantinides, the planning aims at the choice of the appropriate space and orientation, the integration in the landscape, the relationship between the inner and the outer space, the simplicity and the definition of the form, the authenticity of the material and the techniques, the standardization, but also the incorporation of the building unities into the local environment. This venture brought into being one of the most important post-war, public building entities that was based on an integral architectural consideration. The “Xenia” hotels are today a point of reference for Greek and foreign architects as a modern, plain and authentic architectural expression that followed the principles of the modern movement with great coherence, but through a code of cultural nativeness.
The hotels Xenia, which are the result of great endeavour of an integral qualitative architectural approach, are today under serious threat. The demolition, disrespect, abandonment and also the maltreatment as a result of modern uncontrolled alterations of this particular building substructure of E.O.T. has long provoked reactions of the Greek and foreign community of architects. SADAS, the Panhellenic Association of Architects, has in the past years been alert to possible dangers, by sending out documents to the relevant Public Services but unfortunately, without any response.
The Association of Architects has thought out this issue and has made a stand for the immediate protection and the enhancement of the Xenia hotels. The decision with the title “The characterization and restoration of the architectural works of E.O.T. – The Development of the Xenia Network”, suggests the proclamation of the most outstanding Xenia hotels and their surrounding areas as preservable. The preservation of these units based on the initial planning and their suitable organization, aims at creating a network of touristic substructure of high architectural value.
After the demolition of the Xenia hotels at Erakleio and Ioannina and the ongoing maltreatment and abandonment of the rest of them, the issue of the protection, enhancement and preservation of these structures is critical and more opportune than ever before. With the purpose of sensitizing the authorities and inhibiting the destructive practices that have been followed the past years, and with the aim to materialize the above mentioned proposal, SADAS-PEA appeals to everyone for support by signing the petition.
We have the moral obligation to protect the universal cultural heritage and to hand it over to the next generation untouched.