I love their masses of space, long corridors, lifts and escalators, passenger conveyors, and of course I'm just crazy about baggage carousels!
Athens has recently acquired a great number of amazing new airports, disguised into … metro stations.
For reasons that truly escape me, metro stations in Athens, especially those built after 2004, have grown out of proportion, showing off, one after the other, long passageways dressed in marble, monumental façades, and truly imperial grandeur.
From the pharaonic forecourts and atriums of the station at Gazi (below left and centre), to the impressive basilica housing – quite fittingly I hasten to add – the station of St. Dimitrios (below right), the visitor is treated to an extravaganza of voluminous masses and an impressive play of light and shadow effected through heaps of matter and clutter. An ostentatious display of skills and thrills, imposing, impressive and impossibly grand.
Quite frankly, compared to some of our metro stations the New Acropolis Museum (above centre) looks quite Spartan. For one, it does not have any baggage carousels, nor a passenger conveyor (though it could certainly use one). Marble is rather scarce, reserved mostly for floors, leaving walls and columns – those ghastly, elephantine columns dwarfing exhibits and visitors by their sheer mass – in the shade and texture of crude cement, which was all the rage once, I’m guessing, but hasn’t been very popular recently, not since buildings like those of the South Bank Complex in London have grown pitifully old and outdated. Go to Halandri or Plakentias station, for example (below right), and you will see the same gross pillars – only there they are dressed in metal, as if to achieve a cosy embellishment of sorts:
What are we to do? Not much, really, other than "catching a glimpse", taking the long way up, ramp after ramp, corridor through corridor, monstrous pillar next to monstrous pillar, in search for the still absent Elgin marbles, enjoying the view to the holy rock, while waiting for the tourists to come. Here we are, then, left with masses of cement, chunks of metal, and a Caryatid on the mezzanine.