Dear Mr. Voulgarakis:
The Executive Committee of the World Archaeological Congress urges you not to consent to removing the designation of 17 Dionysiou Areopagitou Street, Athens, as a building-monument. It is an important example of 1930s Art Deco architecture, and a testament to the recent material and cultural memory of Greece.
The building, created by the internationally recognized architect Vasilis Kouremenos in 1930, was declared as a scheduled monument by the
Ministry of Urban Development (YPECHODE) in 1978, and a “work of art” by your own Ministry of Culture in 1988.
As you know, the result in the vote in the common meeting of the Central Archaeological Council and the Central Council for Modern Monuments on the 3rd of July 2007 was 12 in favor and 12 against, and it is now up to you to rescue this significant monument from demolition.
We recognize, of course, the significance of the New Acropolis Museum for Athens, but one of the most important features of the landscape of the Athenian Acropolis is its character as a palimpsest of human activity from ancient times to the present. It is this multi-temporal material culture that is valued by archaeologists and the public the world over.
The demolition of this building, a monument of high aesthetic, historical, and mnemonic value, will harm and degrade this sense of diachronic cultural development, and will devalue the Acropolis and its New Museum, as well as the Athenian Cultural Heritage as a whole.
We urge you and the two Councils to seek a way to protect this building.
Larry J. Zimmerman, Ph.D., RPA
Professor of Anthropology & Museum Studies
Public Scholar of Native American Representation
Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis