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Exploring Athens’ Modern Heritage with Big Olive

Updated: May 10, 2021

Rethink Athens

NTUA Professor P. Tournikiotis presenting the Rethink Athens project to DARK Arkitekter, one of Norway’s leading architectural firms.

Athens has always been a destination for aesthetically driven travelers in search of art, architecture and the roots of Western civilization. In his book “Athens: A Cultural and Literary History“, author Michael Llewellyn Smith, mentions that “the ruins of classical antiquity, and especially fifth-century Athens, was what interested travelers in Western Europe, to such an extent that when they visited Athens they hardly saw anything else. However, there was and is another Athens, the capital city of the modern Greek state, the city that you can see today”.

Ever since Big Olive was founded in the summer of 2012 we have recognized the importance of creating a business that would honor all of Athens. While the ancient city is always present we focus on the modern city, its history, culture, architecture and urban landscape.

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Drawing on our network of scholars we organize didactic walking seminars, lectures and field trips investigating the urban fabric of Athens. Focusing on modern architecture, our architectural walking tours, lead by academics and professionals, give participants the tools they need to grasp the architectural language and building forms of Athens’ diverse range of architectural styles from the 1930s to the present, detailing the social, economic, and political forces that shaped the modern cityscape.


Architecture and migration: ETH Zurich architecture students visit the Armenian church and the social housing project for the refugees of the 1919–1922 Greco-Turkish War in Neos Kosmos.

The multilayered urban fabric of Athens challenges conventional assumptions and allows one to think more creatively about urbanism. Big Olive provides perspective clients with an analysis of the layers of ancient, medieval, neoclassical, modernist and current architecture in the city offering a more enlightening perspective on the relationship between the Athenian past and present.

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Bergen Students visiting the Blue polykatoikia, which is perhaps Athens’ most famous modernist building, and has gained iconic status among architecture fans.

Over the years we have served a variety of customers, among the many that have chosen us are schools of architecture and architectural firms including the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich (ETHZ), the Bergen School of Architecture, and Oslo based DARK Arkitekter.

We invite you to discover Athens with us.

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A visit at Atelier 66, an Athens based architecture firm who since 1965 artfully translates modern concepts into local architectural form.

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Basking in the sun at Navarino Park, a small self-organized park in the heart of Athens, which has set a very important precedent in the latest urban history of self-managed open spaces for all Greek cities.

Written by Nicolas Nicolaides

#Athensguidedtours #darkarchitects #GreekArchitects #modernarchitecture

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