Saturday, April 30, 2011

The Networked Ruin of Mont Parnes

 Recently we went up to visit the about-to-be-demolished Mont Parnes Casino.
 Absurdly enough, amidst the current economic crisis, online and offline casinos are flourishing in Greece. The mountain of Parnes (ancient name for Parnitha) fell victim to arson resulting in an enormous fire in the summer of 2007, losing most of it's forest, and somewhat destroying the notable modernist casino  (P. Mylonas architect). Apparently there is an urgent need for a casino on this mountain, so it will be rebuilt in the spirit of the modernist era (count the number of wrongs in just one sentence).
 approaching the building today, you dont know exactly what you are looking at. Through the barren landscape you see a kind of messy collage of weird volumes.

on closer inspection it looks more like a factory, or some unplanned infrastructural decision, floating between being constructed or demolished

A random haywire network of tubing seem to have engulfed the modernist remains of the casino like some kind of ruin overgrown with mechanical ivy, all the while sprouting ISObox modules and scaffolding.
The mechanical ivy disappears inside a beige isobox tunnel, and eventually hooks up to the cable car that used to bring well dressed visitors up. Now, does it just bring ruble down? One cant help thinking of this wreck of a casino still chugging along, hooked up to a network of debts and despair, a constant exchange of all kinds of debris and leftovers. What used to be a glamorous ascent is now just a dismal descent.

the clean cut casino is barely visible amongst the folklore village of additions

the whole place seems deserted, and one wonders how it still functions. On  the web I find an ad for the recently inaugurated poker room.

Walking around, it seems like no such poker room would be possible

peeking inside reveals a hot mess

 but the back of the building is laid out with a perfectly manicured lawn!? Of course it makes sence, this is the only part of the surroundings that is visible when you are inside losing your money. It is not a landscape but a set design, a simple foreground for the view of the endless sprawl that is Athens below

I guess at night, both the casino and the city below look like there's nothing to worry about

1 comment:

Steve said...

Unbelievable. I've visited Mont Parnes at night, and did not see any of the mess that you are exposing with these photos..