International Workshop

The global city and the future of antiquity
Panayotis Tournikiotis (National Technical University of Athens)
     "We are undoubtedly moving towards ecumenopolis, a world city. (...) In the in-terests of man,
      we should return to our ancient heritage and see how the ancient Greek city can be of special help to us."
      Doxiadis, "The ancient Greek city and the city of the present", Ekistics 108, 1964
This paper explores the way in which Doxiadis' analytical view of the architectural space in ancient Greece blended with the town planning thinking of the great Moderns in forming the principles of modern town planning, as implemented in general theory, as applied in practice, and as projected on to the city of the future (ecumenopolis).

Where theory is concerned, I shall be focusing my attention on Doxiadis' Architectural Space in Ancient Greece (Berlin 1937). I am not concerned here with the archaeological or architectural precision of that study. I am interested, rather, in seeing it as part of a wider and absolutely contemporary approach, which contrasts itself to the thinking of Le Corbusier.

And I shall refer to his constructed oeuvre using as examples two projects which appear at first sight to be alien to one another in terms both of location and scale but which, I believe, are very similar: Islamabad, the new capital of Pakistan (1960), which sums up Doxiadis' critique of Chandigarh and Brasilia while at the same time elaborating a direct analogy to ancient Athens and ancient Priene, and the much smaller industrial town of Aspra Spitia ("White Houses", 1964), Doxiadis' most important project in Greece in terms of planning and architecture, constructed at Antikyra, not far from ancient Delphi. Aspra Spitia is a kind of synopsis of the primacy of Doxiadis' Greek model in global ur-banism and architecture. At the same time, it is the built implementation of a critical de-velopment of the principles of the functional city laid down by the 4th CIAM and the Charter of Athens, which Doxiadis had been promoting at precisely the same period. That was the real meaning of the floating Symposium held in July 1963, exactly thirty years on from July 1933, on a vessel named Nea Hellas voyaging among the Greek is-lands, with Sigfried Giedion, secretary to the CIAMs of former times as keynote speaker, ending symbolically at the ancient Greek city of Delos, and culminating in the ambitious Declaration of Delos.

The failure of the existing cities was once more the starting-point; and the redemptive city of the future was to be a modernised projection of the ideal Greek city, in which the human and the mechanical scales were to be combined.