Athens Urban Agriculture Chassis | Option Studio

Athens Urban Agriculture Chassis | Option Studio
Marc Simmons
Spring 2019

The second of three experiments in the Spring 2019 Arrival Studio, this project continues to perform in collaboration with The Home Project, a non-profit organization that manages residences for unaccompanied refugee minors in Athens, Greece. Building from the Home Project's ambitions to implement urban agriculture programs in their facilities throughout the city, this design project envisions a city-wide effort to broaden the narrative and scope of these ‘green’ programs beyond the scope of The Home Project in order to connect with other communities and efforts throughout Athens.

The studio identified and researched the array of abandoned neoclassical buildings throughout the downtown Athens area. These structures are an important part of the cultural heritage of the city, however, are increasingly being neglected and destroyed due to financial repercussions of the Greek economic crisis. Private owners cannot afford to maintain and re-purpose these structures, so the municipality of Athens is purchasing these properties with the hopes of giving them new purpose, looking for short-term leases and programs while long-term leases are not likely.

The first step in the maintenance of these neoclassical ‘shells’ is the installation of a stick-built, steel stabilization structure that protects the facade from large-scale decay or collapse. This design project proposes that this necessary stabilization infrastructure may provide a new agricultural infrastructure for the city, offering to preserve this immense network of cultural heritage structures with a new agricultural amenity for the diverse community of Athens.