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Urbe Viveret / Urban Constructions

Athenian Arcades

The arcades are in Urbe Viveret’s spotlight. Public buildings are revealing the place where they were first created. As a building or part of a building, the arcade has its roots in either distant or familiar Ancient Greece. People with unique character and extroverted daily life, were looking there for a home, a place of hospitality. Within their simplicity, the arcades were both a shelter for the weather conditions as well as the hot "Athenian" sun.
They were also invited inside a variation of activities such as walks, gatherings, philosophical discussions, dining venues, trade exchanges, exhibitions of paintings. Philosophy lessons were also held in the well-known “Stoa Poikile” (colorful stoa), which functioned as an early art gallery. In fact, the Stoic school, founded by the philosopher Zeno, took its name from this arcade. Strongly bound to the urban landscape, the arcades were not meant to simply sink in the oblivion of a majesty that seems obsolete. During the 19th century, during the rise of Athens running to meet the international demands set by the international metropolises, innumerable arcades emerged, mainly of commercial use.
Full of light, signs, shopping windows, merchandise of all kind, cafes, aperitivos, noise and liveliness from the daily passage and coexistence of the inhabitants of the city. Today, most arcades are standing imposing, quiet, almost misterius, with the memory of mobility, socializing and life. Shuttered shops - full of rust and black soil - but also some few treasures and the "traces of trade" that have survived inside them, compose a scene where the distant past and the near future coexist and complete each other.

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