Lina Stergiou, ed., Revelation (Athens: Cultural Olympiad 2001-2004, 2003), English, 520 pages. ISBN 960-7980-49-2.

(book excerpts)
ATHENS D.O.E.S. competition Ephemeral Structures in the City of Athens, organized by the Hellenic Culture Organization S.A. in the context of the Cultural Olympiad 2001-2004, indicates a current political speculation on the city. For no less than four decades a lack of investment, research and discussion on the built environment had as a cause and at the same time as side effect a long-lasting hostile but also ambivalent feeling towards the built environment with which individuals could not justify and even more be identified with. The negative engagement with the city coexisted with the aspiration to metaphorically wipe out the city with one stroke, namely, with a political desire to radically eliminate from the capital its dysfunctional character that, however, remained suspended up to 2003.

The detection of a different research approach to the city through the Cultural Olympiad 2001-2004 uncovers a possible beginning of amends. Ephemeral Structures in the City of Athens competition in 2003 aspires to tackle anew the issue of Athens and create narratives by focusing on reality, recognizing the inherent characteristics of the city and find a norm to construct identities. The notion of ephemerality and parasitism as main axes of Athens-scape interpretation puts on the table the parameter of time and endeavors to conceptualize the always-in-process, mutable and frenzied character of the city. By strengthening this side of reality and even more forcing it to become a new model – decent, uncontaminated, clearly defined – even if this prescribes the opposite – chaos, disfiguration – good and moral character is automatically encapsulated and offers a true love object choice to Athenians, a positive mirror reflection to individual and collective identity.

‘Revelation’ is the third volume in the series of four of Athens D.O.E.S. competition. Unlike the first two that included theoretical and hermeneutical texts, the present tome reveals the actual projects, the response of the participants to the diversity of thematics and given concepts. Four hundred and sixty-one entries by architects of different countries and cultures responded to the Athenian toposcape, articulated small structures for the city of Athens, and proposed scenarios of social performance and interactions through territorial strategies.