DT But when you walk downhill, you always see the sea.
SK Although you see the sea, you feel far from the sea. There are too many things blocking your way, as you said.
DT Because it is a port city and not a resort town. A resort town features a water element that is natural and that has not been greatly affected by modern development unlike the type of water that is the port. Two types of water let’s say, you get me… The second type of water is not hospitable to the human body. The port signifies the mechanical water element.
ΕCΝ However, what I notice about Patras is that although it has streets and squares, and has been designed somewhat to have escape routes, it seems to me very closed as a city. That is, I suffocate a little. In relation to, say, Thessaloniki, I consider that the roads are much smaller. And the buildings are tall and ugly. All this pattern along with the arcades tries to create a uniformity but at the same time, if you observe closely, everything is loosely placed, buildings of different eras, some neglected, some newer, and the fact that they have not taken care of this in the center of the city while they maintain the arcades, my, it looks very weird. A building can be different from the middle and above. Maintaining the notion of the arcade but the rest to be that neglected feels a bit…
SK However, the arcade is very important for Patras!
ΕCΝ Yes, yes! I know… it's just weird that they focus mainly on the arcade.
ΑΚ In some places they operate shops in the extensions of the arcades.
ΝΖ It's like a pavement carcinoma!
DT Here in Patras you have the feeling that you can walk square by square and be in the arcades. That is to say, if the people of the city were so more interesting-sexy as you’ve mentioned, you could keep walking, doing what Baudelaire did in Paris. He just walked around the arcades to see the world. Without being at all interested in the city itself…
DT I haven’t realised that in the past it was full of neoclassical buildings up there, that all these, okay I imagined it had something but it could may as well have been stumps or shops.
SK I didn’t even know that…
DT Therefore, where the square was featuring a rich neoclassical surrounding, had views from all four sides, suddenly now it has something that is half neoclassical, the old tree that looks like a broccoli, over there alone, below the archeological site, the apartment building that comes up like a dick, you know, and suddenly it all becomes an aesthetic of mixing things which is done by subtraction, not by adding elements. This is very strange. That is, it has something post-destructive. Which is the excavation as a disaster and not as a revelation…
YM Disaster yes, but revelation of the older one.
DT These stairs for example are characterised as neoclassical. Having views from left and right is a different thing, while now remain as a demolished ruin, ancient, therefore it becomes damaged. It amplifies the total image of the destruction in the city.
YM It all becomes a ruin! A collective ruin.
ΕCΝ On the stairs, as far as the eye can see, the whole transition from the old to the new is done with old visible partitions and with projections from, say, old bricks, from very old buildings.
DT Which again is like being under a state of demolition.
ΝΖ When we refer to Patras we mean… what exactly?
GM To you, that you are studying here, therefore the spots are specific, the meeting points.
NZ If we think the city as a constellation of points, let’s differentiate it a bit, the landscape of Patras and its morphology that evolves in two levels which are connected through the stairs that also serve as main meeting points for the youngsters, it’s a beautiful city. That is one way to see it. On the other hand, the social structures of the city don’t have much tolerance to the different, to the alternative. There are no options or possibilities for the creation of modern things. For example, a student that studies in the city, in her first years, ok she is exploring the place, finds new spots to enjoy, but after that, there is an oblivion…
GM There is a modern oblivion. That is, to be included in today’s action, in the modern creation.
NZ Indeed, indeed! And if we also go back in time, if we study the development of the city through time…
GM Yes, it is true, it has simply lost the part of modern life - creation. It has no artistic imprint, apart from the street art. This imprint no longer exists, there are no sculptures in the public space, no facilities, no small-scale interventions in key points, because the stairs, the stairs, are among the most beautiful city elements, they connect present, past and future. That is, your generation is the future… and the city has four of them, and they have been characterised as monuments of modern cultural heritage, officially. In Ypsila Alonia, in Patreos street, in Gerokostopoulou street and in Agiou Nikolaou street, we have four levels that join the upper and the lower city. The city’s web lacks of art interventions that would highlight the importance of these stairs for Patras.
GM Creatively, yes. On that level, Patras has been really inactive for the past many, many years. It seems that the past five years, something has started to appear but on the whole, the activity in Greek public spaces has been degraded. With some small exceptions when it comes to certain cities. It’s so sad that the public space has been severely underestimated, the only area that people can meet democratically, get together, communicate.
ΝΖ As if it does not concern us!
GM Exactly! Like it’s a thing of no importance… even though it is the public space, since ancient times, that accommodated everything.
ACHAIA CLAUSS (1861) - Winery
MISKO (1953-1999) - Pasta Factory
TRAINOSE Engine Room (1887) - Transport, Repairs, Railway
ST. GEORGE MILLS (1930-1999) - Flour Mills
DOROTHY ('70s-'90s) - Textiles, Clothing
MUNICIPAL LIBRARY (1908) - Information, Education, Archive
BOSINAKIS (1925-2008) - Pastry Shop
DUR (1960) - Clothes, Accessories
DIAKIDIS (1939-1975) - Lithography & Printing House
SKIADARESIS (1946) - Turkish Delights
BESO ('30s-1990) - Soap, Olive Oil, Wine & Spirits
PSOMIADIS (1950) - Clothespins of Patras
CARNIVAL WORKSHOP (1988) - Organisation of Patras Municipality
DRAMA SCHOOL OF PATRAS MUNICIPALITY (2013) - Theatre Education
> Single dates indicate that the units are still active today
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