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Dossier : Small-scale Building Enterprise and Global Home Ownership. Beyond the Welfare State

Dealing with the Commonplace: Constantinos A. Doxiadis and the Zygos Technical Company

À l'épreuve de la banalité : Constantinos A. Doxiadis et la société Zygos
Konstantina Kalfa et Lefteris Theodosis

Résumés

Cet article traite d'un épisode largement méconnu de la carrière prolifique de l'urbaniste de renommée internationale Constantinos A. Doxiadis (1913-1975). Entre 1962 et 1974, il a dirigé l’entreprise de construction Zygos S.A. en profitant des opportunités offertes par la multiplication des polykatoikìa (des immeubles d'appartements de taille moyenne caractéristiques de la Grèce) via l'antiparochì (un contrat très courant d'échange de terrains contre des appartements). L'histoire de Zygos offre une occasion unique d’aborder une série de questions importantes concernant la production de logements et les processus d'urbanisation dans la Grèce d'après-guerre, et potentiellement dans d'autres pays, dans lesquels la problématique du logement n'a pas été prise en charge par des mécanismes centralisés, ni soutenue par l'État providence. L'article analyse le mécanisme d'auto-alimentation par lequel l’antiparochì aurait à la fois créé et tiré parti d'un système d'interdépendances sociales et économiques et bénéficié du large soutien de l'ensemble de la classe politique, tout en stimulant la croissance d'un marché immobilier spéculatif, dans lequel les entrepreneurs amateurs et les petites entreprises ont prospéré. En fait, la croissance d'un tel marché doit beaucoup aux dispositions réglementaires mises en place par Doxiadis alors qu'il était en charge des programmes de reconstruction et redressement de la Grèce (1945-1951). Finalement, l’implication de Doxiadis dans le marché grec de l’immobilier offre un exemple frappant de la convergence entre incitations venues d’en haut et initiatives de la base, créant les conditions et le cadre dans lequel les architectes grecs (y compris ceux de renom) ont régulièrement exercé. Pour contextualiser le processus de conception et de construction des polykatoikìes (un type de bâtiment banal, bien loin de la notion d’œuvre architecturale), l'article s'appuie sur le concept de « banalité » en tant que terme générique pour décrire les conditions socio-économiques mises en évidence par le mécanisme d’antiparochì et l'expérience quotidienne d'une société urbaine en développement.

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Acknowledgments

We would like to thank the Constantinos A. Doxiadis and Harrison Forman archives, as well as all the interviewees who made this research possible. Special thanks are due to ABE Journal’s Chief and language editors, the dossier’s guest editor Stavros Alifragkis and the manuscript’s blind-peer reviewers for their insightful and productive comments. Part of the research here presented was funded by the Hellenic Foundation for Research and Innovation (HFRI) and the General Secretariat for Research and Technology (GSRT), under grant agreement No 1693, in the context of the research program entitled “Antiparochi and (its) architects: Histories of social forces, spatial politics and the architectural profession in Greece, 1929-74” (PI: Konstantina Kalfa).

Figure 1: Composition with trowel, snail, and bricks, photographed for Zygos S.A. Christmas cards.

Figure 1: Composition with trowel, snail, and bricks, photographed for Zygos S.A. Christmas cards.

Source: Athens (Greece), Constantinos A. Doxiadis Archives, photographs file 30893. © Constantinos and Emma Doxiadis Foundation.

  • 1 “Classified Ads” in the daily newspaper Το Βήμα, 24 September 1965, p. 6.

Plots of any price, [to be paid] in cash or through antiparochì, are wanted for [the construction of] polykatoikìes. Zygos S.A. tel. 613.327, 6–8 pm.1

Introduction

1The above classified ad from 1965 typifies a widespread practice in postwar Greece, the so-called antiparochì. Under this quid-pro-quo arrangement, landowners would turn over their plot to contractors or small-scale construction companies, in exchange for an agreed-upon number of apartments and/or ground floor shops in the multi-story building, commonly known as polykatoikìa, constructed on the property (figs. 2-3). For a period that lasted from the early 1950s until the late 1970s, at least, the antiparochì system was the key mechanism for housing production, far outweighing state programs. In effect, it functioned as a bottom-up system of capitalizing on land with a substantial profit for both the landowner and the entrepreneur. Though the polykatoikìa’s raison d’être was housing, its easily adaptable floor plan and the applicable regulations made possible the mix of different uses (as space for offices, shops, storage, or even public services) in a single building. It comes as no surprise, then, that the production of the all-purpose polykatoikìa through the antiparochì mechanism accounts for the majority of the real estate transactions during the postwar years in Greece. Indeed, this inexpensive and easy to reproduce multi-story construction was both a symptom and a cause of economic development and urban growth.

Figure 2: Aerial view of the center of Athens in the late 1960s, illustrating the spread of the typical Athenian polykatoikìa.

Figure 2: Aerial view of the center of Athens in the late 1960s, illustrating the spread of the typical Athenian polykatoikìa.

Source: University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Libraries, Harrison Forman Collection, file fr438624.

Figure 3: Street view of typical Athenian polykatoikìes with stores at street level (1968).

Figure 3: Street view of typical Athenian polykatoikìes with stores at street level (1968).

Source: University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Libraries, Harrison Forman Collection, file fr438646.

Figure 4: Exterior view of Zygos’s polykatoikìa under construction at Pasalimani, Piraeus. Notice the sign advertising Zygos hanging on the balconies.

Figure 4: Exterior view of Zygos’s polykatoikìa under construction at Pasalimani, Piraeus. Notice the sign advertising Zygos hanging on the balconies.

Source: Athens (Greece), Constantinos A. Doxiadis Archives, photographs file 30893. © Constantinos and Emma Doxiadis Foundation.

  • 2 On the concept of “global socialism,” see: Łukasz Stanek, Architecture in Global Socialism: Easter (...)
  • 3 On the failure of Doxiadis’s comprehensive efforts to plan the future of Detroit see Lefteris Theo (...)

2Amid the numerous ads that flooded the Greek daily press, however, the one above stands out, because of the company that had placed the ad. Zygos had been established by the renowned architect and global planner Constantinos A. Doxiadis (1913-1975). It worked in parallel and sometimes in partnership with Doxiadis Associates (DA), an international engineering and consulting firm. DA’s impressive record in housing and master planning included extensive and grandiose projects in “developing” countries. It had been involved in the National Housing Program of Iraq (1955-1959) and the constrution of Pakistan’s capital Islamabad (1959-1963). In these and other cases, Doxiadis’s proposals were carried out by centralized governments or authoritarian regimes that sought socio-political legitimization, while oscillating between the promises of Western capitalism and global socialism.2 In parallel, the U.S. liberal market economy provided a different testing ground for Doxiadis’s ideas: these were in some cases endorsed by powerful corporations, such as Reynolds Aluminum or Detroit Edison, albeit with questionable results.3

  • 4 Constantinos A. Doxiadis, Ekistics: An Introduction to the Science of Human Settlements, London: H (...)

3Scholarly research on Doxiadis generally revolves around his large-scale projects in the “developing” world, framed, as they were, by the Cold War, state, and nation building policies, and by his attempts to rally an international community of professionals, experts, and politicians around the mission of ekistics—that is, a holistic, systemic approach to every scale of habitation and urbanization, which Doxiadis called the science of human settlements.4 Against the backdrop of Doxiadis’s intriguing international career, the construction of a handful of mid-scale apartment buildings in Athens may seem rather trivial or even insignificant to study.

  • 5 On centrally-planned mass housing see Miles Glendinning’s milestone, Mass Housing. Modern Architec (...)

4Yet the story of Zygos is, as this paper suggests, a unique case study that unpacks a series of important issues in regard to housing production and urbanization processes in postwar Greece and potentially other countries, where housing was neither undertaken by centralized mechanisms, nor promoted by the welfare state.5 In particular, it discusses how the self-propelling mechanism of antiparochì both successfully responded to the popular demand for affordable housing and boosted the growth of a speculative real estate market, where amateurish contractors (often without proper technical training) and small construction companies thrived. It created a system of social relations and economic interdependencies that, despite its bottom-up character, enjoyed broad support across the political spectrum, as evinced by the legislative framework in effect throughout the critical postwar years. In an additional twist to the story, Doxiadis’s role was crucial in creating a fertile ground for such conditions, with a set of pivotal regulatory measures that he launched while being in charge of the Greek Reconstruction and Recovery programs. That said, this paper discusses a striking example of how top-down incentives and bottom-up initiatives converged to create the framework within which the architects (including renowned ones like Doxiadis) routinely operated, in manifold ways.

  • 6 On contemporary readings of the polykatoikìa see: Ioanna Theocharopoulou, Builders, Housewives and (...)
  • 7 Ricardo Agarez and Nelson Mota, “Architecture in Everyday Life,” Footprint, special issue The “Bre (...)

5It is against this background that the “commonplace” is used as an umbrella term to describe the socio-economic conditions in which Zygos’s activities unfolded. In particular, the commonplace denotes the horizontal nature of the antiparochì market that rendered the polykatoikìa a complex project created and shared by multiple agents and actors. Moreover, the polykatoikìa provided the spatial framework for the growth of an urban society, thus a common-place charged with the lived experience and everydayness of the urban condition.6 By all means, it reflected the sparse living conditions of postwar Greek society more than any architectural aspirations. In this respect, the architecture of the commonplace indicates insipid aspects of the architectural praxis that “more often than not [fall] through the cracks of a markedly celebratory architecture culture,”7 in this case the design and construction of polykatoikìes.

  • 8 John Summerson, “Bread & Butter and Architecture,” Horizon, no. 34, October 1942, p. 233-243; Dell (...)
  • 9 Ibid.

6In no case whatsoever is the concept of the commonplace meant to define a new area in architectural scholarship. Actually, during the past years, the production of everyday buildings has become a multifaceted subject, the studies of which have prompted in-depth discussions on the meaning of the “vernacular,” its use in architectural theory, and its complex relations with architectural praxis. John Summerson’s “bread-and-butter architecture” and Dell Upton’s discussion about architecture in everyday life are particularly valuable here.8 As Upton observed, “architects have struggled to differentiate themselves from builders and clients and to establish a clear social identity that would give them the cultural authority to dominate the building market and control the shaping of the landscape.”9

  • 10 Bernard Rudofsky, Architecture without Architects: Α ShortΙntroduction to Νon-Pedigreed Αrchitectur (...)
  • 11 One important instance of this reading is found in Kenneth Frampton’s foreword to the Greek transl (...)

7Pointing out to this fact, that only a fraction of buildings were actually designed by architects, Doxiadis, in his celebrated Architecture in Transition (1963), advocated the redefinition of the architect’s role in the production of mass housing and the planning of urban growth. His discussion about traditional architecture and human settlements (including informal ones) conflated with the seminal works of Rudofsky’s Architecture without Architects (1964) or Rapoport’s House Form and Culture (1969), at the heart of which lay the conceptualization of the vernacular as an integral part of contemporary architecture; in other words, an area that architects could legitimately explore and exploit.10 Likewise, such formulations have contributed to widespread ideas about the endogenous rules and patterns of informal architecture(s) and urbanization. In this case, as this paper argues, the belief that the polykatoikìa is a bottom-up, “undesigned” construction, the proliferation of which sparked the spontaneous growth of the Greek city, owes a lot to the 1960s revisiting (and in some cases glorification) of anonymous architecture.11

8Considering the above, this study draws on “commonplace” material such as Zygos’s internal correspondence and Doxiadis’s “signs” (mimeographed instructions sent to his collaborators), in conjunction with qualitative and quantitative research in the daily press, as well as oral history interviews with related actors, namely architects, contractors, builders, and property owners. Through the empirical prism resulting from this approach, one can examine the everyday conditions of architectural practice in Athens and shed needed light on the involvement of celebrated and lesser-known architects in the production of the polykatoikìa.

9Altogether, this study shows how the commonplace offered new professional opportunities—and challenges—for architects, engineers, and planners alike. At the same time, it filtered (and even excluded) specific architectural practices and concepts, e.g., the standardization of the construction process. Doxiadis’s eventual failure to advance a competitive business model in the Athenian real estate market reflects, to a great extent, the idiosyncrasy of the commonplace. By unpacking these issues, this paper seeks to contribute to a better understanding of the “informal” processes and alternative models of housing production that prevailed in the absence of welfare state programs and central planning mechanisms. In this regard, the example of Athens marks a borderline case, the critical investigation of which could inform the ongoing discussion on what lies beyond Europe and Western practices.

Zygos, Technical Company S.A.

  • 12 Doxiadis Organization comprised a number of enterprises active on an array of sectors: publishing, (...)
  • 13 Athens (Greece), Constantinos and Emma Doxiadis Foundation, Doxiadis Archives, file 192025, Signs (...)
  • 14 Athens (Greece), Constantinos and Emma Doxiadis Foundation, Doxiadis Archives, file 18961, S–D 891 (...)
  • 15 Athens (Greece), Constantinos and Emma Doxiadis Foundation, Doxiadis Archives, file 19025, S–D 163: (...)
  • 16 “Austin Company, Designers, Engineers, Builders” was one example. See Athens (Greece), Constantinos (...)
  • 17 Athens (Greece), Constantinos and Emma Doxiadis Foundation, Doxiadis Archives, file 19607, S–ZYG 1 (...)
  • 18 Athens (Greece), Constantinos and Emma Doxiadis Foundation, Doxiadis Archives, file 19008, SD–DC 13 (...)
  • 19 Athens (Greece), Constantinos and Emma Doxiadis Foundation, Doxiadis Archives, file 19025, S–D 163 (...)

10Zygos S.A. was established in 1962 as a branch of the Doxiadis Organization (DO) Construction Sector 3, which, at that time, conducted research on building materials and engineering.12 Only three years later, with a view to expanding into new markets, Zygos became a joint-stock company, encompassing the activities of Sector 3 in their entirety.13 As Doxiadis reckoned, building services had greater demand than planning and consultancy services, all the more so in Greece, where the construction sector was growing rapidly, promising high returns.14 Thus, the profit-oriented Zygos targeted an array of business opportunities in real estate, starting from housing construction based on antiparochì and extending to the development of turnkey projects or the promotion of package deals, not only in Greece but also abroad, in countries like Libya, Nigeria, and Egypt.15 Doxiadis’s ultimate ambition was for Zygos to grow into a technical company of international scope, modeled after the US real estate firms operating in the construction and development sector.16 While acknowledging that conditions in Greece were not yet ripe for such business, he considered the situation an opportunity to lead the way in the development of tourist complexes, new towns, and industrial areas.17 When required, these projects and construction package deals would be conducted in partnership with DA, whereas Zygos was to provide the DA workforce with on-the-job-training (a prerequisite for the formation of competent professionals within ekistics) as well as opportunities to experiment with innovative systems and building materials, such as prefabricated concrete.18 On the other hand, Zygos was expected to benefit the most not only from the DA’s expertise but also from its clientele, portfolio, and reputation, in its pursuit of profitable real estate investments.19 As Doxiadis stated in a confidential memo, as early as August 1965:

  • 20 Athens (Greece), Constantinos and Emma Doxiadis Foundation, Doxiadis Archives, file 19025, S–D 163: (...)

“[The polykatoikìes sector] should be up and running as soon as possible so that, at the end of December, we can officially announce its existence and affiliation with our office. I am sure that in this way we will be able to obtain the necessary down payments and move forward [with the projects], and I am sure that in this way we will receive proposals for very good plots from all over Athens, which we will be able to secure as long as it is not a matter of cash transaction but of antiparochì.”20

  • 21 Even the owners of Zygos’s first polykatoikìes’ apartments were unaware of the fact that Doxiadis’ (...)
  • 22 There is the record of three more polykatoikìes (2 in central Athens and 1 in the suburbs) which w (...)
  • 23 From 1960 to 1973, gross domestic product grew at an average annual rate of 7.7 percent, the faste (...)
  • 24 In 1970, Zygos sold 26 apartments; in 1971, it sold 17; and in 1972, only 8. Meanwhile Zygos’s vac (...)

11And yet it was not until 1967 that the affiliation of DA with Zygos was publicly confirmed in the ads. For whatever reason, however, even then the fact that this small-size company (it employed a maximum of 22 employees in 1971) was Doxiadis’s real estate bid was broadly ignored or unknown.21 Eventually, the ambition for developing Zygos into a leading construction company capable of supporting financially the growth of the whole DO proved to be an exercise in wishful thinking. Apart from the construction of 10 polykatoikìes drawing on the antiparochì system (figs. 5-7) and the building of an extension for the DA headquarters at Kolonaki, Athens, Zygos’s record in larger-scale real estate projects is limited to the development of the Apollonion residential complex in Porto Rafti (a seaside town in East Attica), which was actually Doxiadis’s most personal project, completed posthumously.22 Despite the fact that Zygos operated in a period of sustained economic growth often described as the “Greek economic miracle,” large-scale real estate opportunities remained scarce.23 Most importantly, the company did not bring the expected profits in dealing with antiparochì; instead, after a promising start, it encountered serious difficulties in selling its apartments, even those designed according to high-quality standards and located in the middle-to-upper class neighborhoods of Athens.24

Figure 5: Zygos’s polykatoikìes in central districts in Athens.

Figure 5: Zygos’s polykatoikìes in central districts in Athens.

Left: the polykatoikìa at Charilaou Trikoupi Street, owned by Zygos’s partner Arthur Scheepers (completed in 1965); middle: the polykatoikìa at Ayias Elenis Street, Zografou (1965); right: the polykatoikìa at Kallistratous Street, Zografou (1965).

Source: Photos by Konstantina Kalfa.

Figure 6: Zygos’s polykatoikìes in central districts in Athens.

Figure 6: Zygos’s polykatoikìes in central districts in Athens.

Left: the polykatoikìa at Pagkrati (1967); middle: the polykatoikìa at Fokylidou Street, Kolonaki (1967-1968); right: the polykatoikìa at Stratiotikou Syndesmou Street, Kolonaki (1970).

Source: Photos by Konstantina Kalfa.

Figure 7: Zygos’s polykatoikìes in the Athenian suburbs.

Figure 7: Zygos’s polykatoikìes in the Athenian suburbs.

Top left: the polykatoikìa at Κallithea (1969); top right: the polykatoikìa at P.Faliro (1971); bottom left: the polykatoikìa at Pasalimani, Piraeus (1969); bottom right: the polykatoikìa at N. Smirni (1971-1972).

Source: Photos by Konstantina Kalfa.

  • 25 Athens (Greece), Constantinos and Emma Doxiadis Foundation, Doxiadis Archives, file 19182, SD–DC 5 (...)
  • 26 Athens (Greece), Constantinos and Emma Doxiadis Foundation, Doxiadis Archives, file 19008, S–D 145 (...)
  • 27 Athens (Greece), Constantinos and Emma Doxiadis Foundation, Doxiadis Archives, file 19025, SD–DC 6 (...)

12Doxiadis, who always stayed abreast of market conditions, attributed this stagnation to an increased demand for small flats. He instructed his collaborators to halt construction works and consider two possibilities: reducing the flat size or price.25 Nonetheless, Zygos’s net profit percentage ranged between 0.9% (1965) to 26.8% (1968) and hardly yielded the “colossal profits” Doxiadis hoped for (fig. 8).26 As he declared in a wrathful note to his partners in 1969: “Today I read about Greek construction’s growth in recent years [and] I was horrified. I was horrified because Zygos has not participated in this frenzy at all.”27

Figure 8: One of the many charts prepared by Zygos in 1971 showing the company’s economic situation. Direct costs of polykatoikìes’ construction and yearly sales in dashed line.

Figure 8: One of the many charts prepared by Zygos in 1971 showing the company’s economic situation. Direct costs of polykatoikìes’ construction and yearly sales in dashed line.

Source: Athens (Greece), Constantinos A. Doxiadis Archives, file 29065. © Constantinos and Emma Doxiadis Foundation.

  • 28 Athens (Greece), Constantinos and Emma Doxiadis Foundation, Doxiadis Archives, file 19055, Signs by (...)

13Eventually, in 1974, Doxiadis condemned the company as failed.28 As further analyzed below, even though he sought to integrate popular practices in Zygos’s business model, an inescapable stratagem for those wishing to profit from the seemingly endless opportunities of the real-estate market, Doxiadis was hindered by his modernist background, precepts, and working methodologies. And yet his problematic relationship with the commonplace is an irony of history, considering Doxiadis’s own contribution to the growth of the private housing market.

Decree 28 and the growth of the construction sector

  • 29 Pavlos M. Delladetsima, “Απόψεις, Θεωρίες και Πρακτικές Σχεδιασμού του Χώρου Κατά την Περίοδο της (...)

14At the dawn of the postwar era, Constantinos Doxiadis emerged as a key figure in national economic and spatial development at the Office for Reconstruction, established within the Ministry of Public Works. He served first as the Undersecretary (1945-1946) and then as the Director General (up until 1951). Doxiadis made sure that the office, known as the Ministry of Reconstruction, became a clearing house with broad competences and jurisdictions. It was tasked with coordinating the joint efforts between the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration (UNRRA), the American Mission for Aid to Greece (AMAG), and subsequently with the Marshall Plan aid. The Ministry’s scope extended well beyond spatial planning and included the enactment of economic and regulatory measures with long-lasting impact on state administration and national economy.29

  • 30 Legally, this was a proclamation directly published in the Government Gazette signed and ratified (...)
  • 31 See Doxiadis’s articles in the Greek Newspaper Το Βήμα (19 August 1947), p. 1 and (24 August 1950), (...)
  • 32 Dimitrios N. Fountoulis, “Αι Οικονομικαί Συνέπειαι εκ της Φορολογίας των Νεόδμητων [The Financial C (...)
  • 33 Constantinos Doxiadis, “Ο Αγών Επιβιώσεως του Λαού μας: Ο Ιδιωτικός Τομεύς του Σχεδίου [The Battle (...)
  • 34 Konstantina Kalfa, “‘Giving to the World a Demonstration’: US Housing Aid to Greece, 1947–1951,” J (...)
  • 35 Ilias Katsikas, “Κρίση Κατοικίας στην Ελλάδα: η Πολιτική Οικονομία της Αντιπαροχής [Housing Crisis (...)

15Arguably, the most important such measure was the Decree 28/23.08.1947 “On Providing Facilitations for Private-Led Reconstruction,” promoted by Doxiadis in his capacity as Director General of Reconstruction.30 This regulated a series of exceptional and unprecedented incentives, including tax exemptions, accelerated procedures, and the abolition of rent control for all new constructions in urban areas.31 Initially enacted as a special emergency measure, Decree 28 gave a substantial impetus to capital investments in the construction sector, housing in particular, as “laborers drained their savings to get a home for their family,” eventually leading to “a building orgasm” in Athens and other big cities.32 Developments like this confirmed Doxiadis’s rationale behind Decree 28: housing could attract a significant majority of minor investors who were not “willing to invest in businesses that they themselves d[id] not control.”33 In this line, Doxiadis championed housing construction as a motor of economic development and highlighted the social benefits of homeownership that, in turn, were expected to contribute to growth. Actually, these were cornerstone concepts in a development framework advanced by US and UN housing-aid programs in “developing” countries, under the guidance of international housing experts. One of the most prominent ones was Jacob Leslie Crane, who acted as Doxiadis’s advisor in the centrally-planned reconstruction of the Greek countryside.34 This was based on “aided self-help” policies and became the priority of the impoverished Greek state in the midst of the ongoing Civil War (1946-1949) and the emerging Cold War. Conversely, urban reconstruction was left in the hands of private entrepreneurship, hence the importance and impact of Decree 28. The incentives granted by the decree funneled investments into housing construction, which became one of the most secure means to channel private savings into the market. Reinforced by an acute lack of housing in urban areas, Decree 28 furthered antiparochì as a key solution mechanism. Thus the quid pro quo exchange of land for apartments (rather than the selling of land) became a widespread practice. As scholars suggest, the land market was practically absorbed by the housing market and the price of land was primarily expressed in terms of projected apartments built on this land.35 It is not by chance that one of the earliest accounts of antiparochì appears in a 1950 article commenting on the effects of Decree 28:

  • 36 Agni Roussopoulou, “Πολυκατοικίες Πολυτελείας: ή Λαϊκές Κατοικίες [Polykatoikìes of Luxury or Poly (...)

It is the entrepreneurs, who start the construction of a polykatoikìa with almost no initial capital whatsoever, who benefit [from Decree 28]. Their method is well-known. They negotiate the plot […] and offer its owner two or more apartments in exchange, paying nothing for acquiring it [...]. They commission an architect to draft the plans, but in lieu of payment, they promise him a percentage of the profits after the sale of the apartments; or they offer him an apartment at the future polykatoikìa. They negotiate the demolition of the old building [on the plot] with a contractor, who pays them a fee to salvage the demolition materials. Once the permit has been issued by the Office for City Planning, they publicly announce the sale of apartments, waiting to snatch clients [...] With the money the entrepreneur gets from [the sales of] the first apartments, he starts the construction [of the polykatoikìa] and, as the building progresses, he sells more.36

  • 37 Vivid discussions on extending the timeframe of the Decree’s validity were held in the Greek Parli (...)
  • 38 Generally, deficits in stateness (quasi, failed, backward) are considered endemic conditions of sp (...)
  • 39 Pavlos M. Delladetsima, “Rent Control Measures of Immediate Post‐war Period (1944–1952) and their (...)
  • 40 Compulsory Act 395/68 “On Βuilding Ηeight and Unrestricted Construction Building.” See also Babis D (...)

16Besides denoting the undeclared relationship between Decree 28 and the antiparochì, the above excerpt offers an accurate description of business practices specific to the polykatoikìa construction process that defined social relationships within the commonplace. Indeed, one can discern the existence of a socio-economic system that encompassed different classes and professions, e.g., the constructor, the architect, the landowner, and the prospective clients. Despite being bottom-up, this system did not oppose in any way the political status quo, as evinced by the popularity and widespread acceptance of the antiparochì. To be sure, despite the fact that Decree 28 was initially discredited by political adversaries as “a desperate solution” that would result in a significant shortfall in national tax revenues, it overcame opposition and remained in effect throughout the critical postwar years.37 Thus, it introduced an alternative paradigm, not only in housing provision but also in what we may call a “regime of exceptions” in public governance. Such exceptions are characteristic of the so-called “clientelistic” model for social policy. They are usually observed in cases where the state kept up with market developments and intervened selectively in favor of specific interests.38 In this case, the regulation of the housing market by the Greek state was from then onwards characterized by an indirect support of small-scale private entrepreneurship that invariably appealed to the low and middle classes.39 Most visibly, in an effort to mitigate the risks of economic and social instability, the 1967–1974 dictatorship put the construction sector on steroids, increasing permissible heights and buildable land. In just over a decade, between 1960 and 1970, investment in the building sector tripled, and Greece became one of the leading capitalist countries in housing construction.40

  • 41 See for instance, Pavlos Athanassakis, “Αστική Στέγη, Κρατική Πολιτική [Urban Housing, State Polic (...)
  • 42 According to newly acquired research data, in 1965 all building permits for polykatoikìes via antip (...)
  • 43 Interviews conducted in the context of the research program “Antiparochì and (its) Architects: His (...)

17Undeniably, this boom created job opportunities not only for construction entrepreneurs but also for the country’s technicians, architects and engineers alike. This was precisely the reason why in more than one case the Technical Chamber of Greece (the official professional association of architects and engineers) openly declared its support for Decree 28.41 Αs speculative practices gradually dominated the private housing sector, more and more civil engineers and architects were employed by technical companies active in the antiparochì business. By the early 1970s, the number had reached the astonishing height of 4,000 formally trained technicians.42 At the same time, these developments challenged entrenched views regarding professional roles and, in particular, of the architect as the person in charge of the construction process or as the sole creator of such a building. The polykatoikìa gradually evolved from a unique, one-off piece of design by the hand of the professional architect, an artisan business, and a symbol of status in the prewar period, to a generic low-tech concrete slab structure, a banal construction, and a commercial commodity in the postwar era. To cope with this new situation, architects had to move beyond established professional standards and adapt their practice to that of the contractors and developers. Typically, the main tasks of the architect were the maximization of the built area and the overcoming of bureaucratic barriers for the issuing of permits. Even the design of the polykatoikìa’s floor plans became a routine procedure with commercial purposes: the original blueprints provided a basis for negotiating the demands of the potential client and were rarely implemented as designed. Even more surprising is the fact that the requested modifications more often than not remained verbal agreements between the contracting parties, scarcely developed in consultation with the architect. In fact, as professionals have recalled in interviews, the original floor plans—required for a building permit—were rarely updated and in some cases the changes were even made by a different architect or other building professional.43

18As might be understood from the above, the construction sector owes its growth to manifold factors that reached far beyond the original goals and intentions of Decree 28 or Doxiadis’s aspirations. In this sense, it is an irony of fate that Doxiadis, having significantly contributed to the growth of the private-led housing sector in Greece, was nonetheless unable to decode—let alone profit from—the speculative real estate market. Be that as it may, the above provides the general background against which we will review his strategy and tactics to promote an alternative business model in the commonplace.

Zygos’s maneuvers in the Commonplace

  • 44 As suggested through research on the era’s daily press (classified ads) in the context of the Rese (...)

19This paper starts from the premise that the growth of the real estate market—the backdrop against which Zygos’s activities unfolded—was principally driven by the antiparochì mechanism and was intrinsically connected to the growth of an urban population in the polykatoikìa. In one way or another, the commonplace provided the main framework for spatial and socio-economic development and involved all classes. It is not by accident that the antiparochì gained popularity among the wealthy social strata and institutional bodies, including public or semi-public organizations, the church, shipowners, and industrialists.44

  • 45 This issue was first raised by economist Kostas Sophoulis in “Το Σύστημα Οικοδομήσεως με Αντιπαροχ (...)
  • 46 Athens (Greece), Constantinos and Emma Doxiadis Foundation, Doxiadis Archives, file 19025, SD–DC 20 (...)

20Via this mechanism, property development became not only a profitable but also an indirect investment field: unlike a general partnership contract, where the two parties (the landowner and the contractor) had to pay the startup fees and the corresponding taxes, the antiparochì contract was exempt from taxation.45 The following episode, drawn from Zygos’s correspondence, is an excellent example. In September 1965, Mrs. Karini (name changed)—the widow of Ioannis Karinis, a prominent member of the Greek diaspora, who had dealt in Egyptian cotton—asked Doxiadis to look into the possibilities of developing a 0.25 ha plot in downtown Athens.46 Mrs. Karini had turned to Doxiadis because of the international experience and credibility of his organization while looking for a favorable financial arrangement. Apparently, the widow sought a way to transfer her profits abroad, most probably to avoid taxation, hoping that DO’s international branches could help. Although Doxiadis did not make any commitment to transferring the profits, he made it clear that Zygos would take on the project only if the plot was offered, not for cash, but via antiparochì.

  • 47 In fact, almost every Athenian district had one or two such contractors, dominating the local mark (...)
  • 48 Ibid. Athens (Greece), Constantinos and Emma Doxiadis Foundation, Doxiadis Archives, file 18961, S– (...)
  • 49 Petrouli family, interview with Konstantina Kalfa and Stavros Alifragkis, 16.11.2021.

21In any case, Doxiadis knew that if Zygos was to make profit out of constructing polykatoikìes, it had to engage with the free-market practices of a speculative real estate market, often unfolding in the realm of the commonplace. A characteristic example is the word-of-mouth marketing approach used to attract landowners and potential flat buyers. As noted in several interviews, it was common for contractors to expand their established clientele by using popular cafeterias and community centers as their local center of operations outside the office, while looking to make the right offer at the right time.47 Therefore, unlike DA’s big-scale projects lobbied in governmental and institutional circles, Zygos’s success depended on understanding the social dimension of the market and taking advantage of its local networks. To do so, in the early years of Zygos, Doxiadis sought to integrate practices usually adopted by construction companies. He thus recommended the employment of an antiparochì contractor to undertake Zygos’s department of land development; i.e. “someone who ha[d] nothing to do with the job of the engineer,” a “layman who knew how the market works” even if “he [was] lacking any education.”48 Indeed, Zygos drew on contractors’ practices to play the real estate game. In 1965, the Petrouli family (named changed) made a deal with Zygos to develop their plot in the Zografou district of Athens via antiparochì (figs. 9, 10 and 11). Zygos then adopted a practice common among the antiparochì contractors of the era, consisting in maximizing their profit by turning the building’s semi-basements (officially registered as “storage rooms”) into apartments for rent or sale.49

Figure 9: Petroulis’s (name changed) two-story family house at Kallistratous Street built in 1948 (photographed in the early 1950s).

Figure 9: Petroulis’s (name changed) two-story family house at Kallistratous Street built in 1948 (photographed in the early 1950s).

The house was for years among the wealthiest ones in the sparsely populated Zografou district, in Athens. Nonetheless, in 1965, when the family approached Zygos for the construction of a polykatoikìa through antiparochì, their house was one of the last detached single-family dwellings in the neighborhood.

Source: Permission for publication kindly granted by the Petrouli family.

Figure 10: Floor plans for Petroulis’s polykatoikìa on Kallistratous Street.

Figure 10: Floor plans for Petroulis’s polykatoikìa on Kallistratous Street.

It is interesting to note that the plans were signed by architect Victor Vafiadis, who had been a close collaborator of Doxiadis since the era of Greek Reconstruction and held a degree from NTUA and a PhD from TU Berlin. Note how the plan is based on a module and follows the existenzminimum dictum. In this case, the dictum maximized profit (by creating more apartments to sell or rent). Later floor plans, such as those for Zygos’s polykatoikìa at P. Faliro, tended to be less devoted to modular design, as Zygos differentiated its marketing approach from the typical contractor’s practices. These later plans display, instead a certain taste for luxury.

Source: Permission for publication kindly granted by the Petrouli family.

Figure 11: Façade of the Petroulis’s polykatoikìa at Kallistratous Street.

Figure 11: Façade of the Petroulis’s polykatoikìa at Kallistratous Street.

Source: Permission for publication kindly granted by the family.

  • 50 Athens (Greece), Constantinos and Emma Doxiadis Foundation, Doxiadis Archives, file 19607, S–ZYG 17 (...)

22By the late 1960s, however, Zygos was clearly changing its tactics, attempting to differentiate its marketing approach from the typical contractor’s practices. In 1970, in a context comparable to “corporate espionage,” Zygos employee Kostas Liakos paid a visit to the offices of a successful contractor in order to gather intelligence on his business secrets and report back to Doxiadis. Dimosthenis Kakkavas (fig. 12) was a small family company of five to six employees that, nonetheless, managed to coordinate 22 polykatoikìes under construction and more than 500 apartments on sale.50 As Liakos reported:

  • 51 Ibid.

The most successful characterization for Kakkavas’ business would probably be “apartments supermarket.” Its polykatoikìes are rather cheap constructions in vulgar taste. The business appeals to a lower-class clientele, and indeed to those people for whom home ownership is still the dream of their lives. Its offices are constantly crowded and in the three times I was there – I stayed for over an hour – the sales personnel must have closed deals with at least two clients. It was truly impressive. On a Saturday afternoon, I felt like I was at a flea market.51

Figure 12: Advertisement for Kakkavas’s business published in the newspaper Ελεύθερος Κόσμος.

Figure 12: Advertisement for Kakkavas’s business published in the newspaper Ελεύθερος Κόσμος.

Source: Ελεύθερος Κόσμος, 22 September 1971, p. 1.

  • 52 Athens (Greece), Constantinos and Emma Doxiadis Foundation, Doxiadis Archives, file 19607, S–ZYG 1 (...)
  • 53 Athens (Greece), Constantinos and Emma Doxiadis Foundation, Doxiadis Archives, file 19607, S–ZYG 1 (...)

23Liakos surmised that Kakkavas’s successful sales policy was based on low down payments and many affordable installments, as summed up in the motto “You pay more but you save on the rent money.” Kakkavas’s apartments were considerably cheaper than Zygos’s, to judge by Liakos’s report and a subsequent internal document issued by Zygos (1972), comparing 1970 Kolonaki polykatoikìa apartment prices with others in the same high-class district. Indeed, Kakkavas’s home prices started at 6,800 drachmas per m² in desirable neighborhoods, while Zygos’s fifth floor apartment at Kolonaki was sold, in 1972, for 19,000 drachmas per m² (3,840 euros per m² at current value).52 Even if installments and credits eventually trimmed Kakkavas’s gross profit, his prices were considerably lower than Zygos’s. Nonetheless, as Liakos claimed, Kakkavas’s business offered poor quality for money and concluded that his was “an example to be avoided.”53

  • 54 All of the areas where Zygos built polykatoikìes had been developed with such buildings since 1965 (...)
  • 55 This observation is based on qualitative and quantitative research on Zygos ads in the Greek press.

24Since the field of enterprises active in antiparochì during the study period remains to date uncharted, it is hard to tell how representative Kakkavas’s case was. It can easily be inferred, however, that over time Doxiadis aspired to differentiate Zygos from such popular practices and instead appeal to middle and upper-class clients. As the quantitative and qualitative analysis of the company’s classified ads reveals, Zygos targeted plots in wealthy central neighborhoods (e.g., Kolonaki) or developing districts and suburbs (like Faliro and the port of Zea in Piraeus), where the demand for larger apartments was high (fig. 13).54 Apart from their central location and accessibility, Zygos advertised the luxury of their prospective apartments; i.e., their “excellent construction,” finished with “oak, Ripolins, European plastics, fully furnished baths, European sanitary ware” (fig. 14); upper-class amenities such as a “huge reception room/area for the lady’s club, the gentleman’s hobby, and the children’s party”; or “prime, exceptional views.”55 As a matter of fact, from August 1967 onwards, Zygos’s polykatoikìes were even advertised as “[studies] of Doxiadis’s technical office,” most probably in an attempt to emphasize the quality of construction.

Figure 13: The sprawl of the Athenian polykatoikìes constructed through the system of antiparochì in 1965.

Figure 13: The sprawl of the Athenian polykatoikìes constructed through the system of antiparochì in 1965.

The black dots mark the locations of Zygos’s polykatoikìes (1965-1972) which apparently follow the era’s city sprawl patterns.

Source: Research for this map was performed by Konstantina Kalfa and geo-coding and mapping by Eleni Gkadolou.

Figure 14: Interior apartment view of Zygos’s polykatoikìa at Κallithea (dated August 1970).

Figure 14: Interior apartment view of Zygos’s polykatoikìa at Κallithea (dated August 1970).

Source: Athens (Greece), Constantinos A. Doxiadis Archives, photographs file 30893. © Constantinos and Emma Doxiadis Foundation.

  • 56 Athens (Greece), Constantinos and Emma Doxiadis Foundation, Doxiadis Archives, file 19182, SD–DC 7 (...)
  • 57 Ibid.
  • 58 Athens (Greece), Constantinos and Emma Doxiadis Foundation, Doxiadis Archives, file 19607, S–ZYG 1 (...)

25In parallel, Doxiadis took a more corporate approach to organizing Zygos. To start with, he asked Zygos’s personnel to streamline the required documentation, internal correspondence, and the documents that addressed requests from the constructors or the prospective owners.56 At the same time, he gave the green light to his collaborators to design typological variations on the main floor plans in advance, in order to anticipate possible demands from the clients.57 In fact, he even sought to discourage such demands by stipulating that any modifications (i.e., in the floor plan) had to be preceded by a formal request and approved by the Zygos’s accounting department before they could be processed.58

  • 59 Anastasia Tzakou, “Η Eξέλιξη της Πολυκατοικίας στην Αθήνα Μετά τον Πόλεμο, [The Evolution of the P (...)
  • 60 Athens (Greece), Constantinos and Emma Doxiadis Foundation, Doxiadis Archives, file 19182, SD–DC 7 (...)

26These guidelines suggest a rather rigid approach to a product that, as explained above, was by definition geared to popular taste and responsive to customer demands. Moreover, Doxiadis was reluctant to integrate in Zygos’s design stylistic elements introduced by renowned architects of the time, who designed polykatoikìes in high-class districts.59 A characteristic example is the widespread use of glass parapets instead of iron bars for the balcony and terrace railings during the 1960s and 1970s (See fig. 3). Allegedly, this design was introduced by visionary modernist Takis Zenetos and became popular among building contractors willing to modernize the banal aesthetics of the polykatoikìes, while hoping to attract wealthy clients. Doxiadis flatly refused to keep up with this stylistic fashion: “We shall never build according to the trends; the trend of glass balconies (sic) is wrong in terms of ventilation and for safety reasons, thus we shall not follow it.”60

  • 61 Athens (Greece), Constantinos and Emma Doxiadis Foundation, Doxiadis Archives, file 19182, SD–DC 6 (...)

27Instead, Doxiadis’s design guidelines sought to draw on his experience and expertise from the DA international projects. In that spirit, and with a view to augmenting the volume of production and improving its cost-efficiency, he asked his collaborators to standardize every possible element and step involved in the construction of a polykatoikìa. For example, ignoring the fact that the vast majority of construction components were fabricated by construction workers, such as carpenters and blacksmiths, in situ, he insisted on the need to use prefabricated components (e.g., parapets, doorknobs, door locks, etc.) and standardize the construction details of the façades, terraces, and communal spaces, such as the lobby and entrance area.61

  • 62 He used this term for his own polykatoikìa in 2 Stratiotikou Syndesmou Str, where canopies were de (...)

28In the end, only a few hints of standardization or modular design can be traced in Zygos’s buildings. Most notably these are the metal railings on the balconies and the vertical matrix of evenly distanced metal bars that run across the façades. These were meant to support canopies that would move up and down to guarantee shade during the hot seasons and sufficient light during the winter, a grid façade that Doxiadis called the “double skin.”62 This concept, however, did not evolve according to Doxiadis’s wishes, and eventually most of Zygos’s polykatoikìes have rather ordinary façades with regular openings, longitudinal balconies, and the typical inclining retractable awnings. Altogether, despite the declared commitment to construction quality and morphological simplicity, Zygos’s buildings barely differ from the omnipresent Athenian polykatoikìa.

Afterword: Subjugating architecture

29Exceptional as it may be, the case of Constantinos A. Doxiadis and Zygos opens new perspectives on understanding how Greek architects sought to cope with the dynamics of a volatile real estate market, boosted by the self-propelled antiparochì mechanism toward the production of the polykatoikìa. From another standpoint, it has provided insight on how the growth of the market impacted architecture as a profession. What remains to reflect on, then, is what these developments imply for the contemporary scholarship and how they potentially contribute to the historiography of architecture.

30Business approaches based on corporate standards and massive capital investments were more the exception than the rule in Greece’s 1960s real estate market. In this context, Doxiadis’s strategy and tactics in navigating the Greek market were fairly ambiguous and brought no competitive advantage, when compared to the selling methods of the average construction company. His modus operandi, based on the false belief that the overall control of every step of the production process—from negotiating the development of a plot, to the design and building of a polykatoikìa—was actually attainable, was at odds with the informality and spontaneity of the commonplace. Aspects of antiparochì, such as the active pursuit of suitable plots through neighborhood networks and by word-of-mouth, or the process through which clients debated the customization of their apartments, show how firmly embedded everyday practices and ad hoc agreements were in the production of the polykatoikìa.

  • 63 As explained in this paper, antiparochì can be understood as a symptom of the clientelistic “welfa (...)

31Considering the above, Doxiadis’s bid with Zygos is more than a story of business failure. Instead, it points to the rigidity of his modern architectural approach in engaging with urban informality. Seen from another perspective, it opens up a discussion on the actual porosity of bottom-up models, which are often considered to provide equal access opportunities for all. Yet, as discussed here, the commonplace was not a neutral constellation of actors, systems, and processes. Instead, it had its own criteria that dominated both the architectural program and design of the polykatoikìa and, to a great extent, subjugated architecture to the rules of an idiosyncratic market. While it remains unclear how power was diffused over the different actors, it would be misleading to interpret the commonplace as a grassroots phenomenon that stands in opposition to the formal, the official, or the top-down. This study has shown how bottom-up, extra-legal, or quasi illegal building practices unfolded with the consent of the state through a characteristic model of patronage-clientele politics.63 In this sense, it may be said that the commonplace evinces the existence of a social contract between the state and civil society that was instrumental in the consolidation of the housing market and, thus, for the growth of the postwar city in Greece. Even if unintentionally, the Decree 28 sealed this kind of unspoken deal and provides a telling example of how state-promoted measures intertwined with market dynamics. The understanding of the commonplace, then, is particularly valuable to the debunking of both the myth of Athens as an “improvised” city and of the stereotype of the polykatoikìa as an informal, non-designed construction.

32As mentioned in the introduction, the construction of those myths owes much to architectural theories that drew inspiration from the vernacular or the “informal” to introduce alternative paths to architectural action. Though a thorough analysis of Doxiadis’s discourse exceeds the scope of this paper, laying out some of his assumptions or assertions about the building industry and the growth of the contemporary Greek city provides insights into both his work and the role of Greek architects.

  • 64 Constantinos A. Doxiadis, Architecture in Transition, op.cit. (note 62). Translated in five langua (...)
  • 65 These were the polykatoikìa at 6 Fokylidou Street, completed in 1968, and the polykatoikìa at 4A St (...)
  • 66 Constantinos A. Doxiadis, Architecture in Transition, op. cit (note 62), p. 130-134, 149-151.
  • 67 The apartment block in question was a particular case, where the famed architect gave the attentio (...)

33In 1963, only a few months after founding Zygos, Doxiadis published the acclaimed Architecture in Transition, advocating structural changes both in the conceptualization and in the production of architecture.64 To face the contemporary challenges of human habitat and the acute needs in urban housing, he suggested that an emerging universal architecture should come from tradition and human values, yet be in synergy with industrial production. The key to the pursuit of these goals was standardization in the design and construction processes as planned and controlled by the architect. To illustrate the use of standardized elements in residential architecture, Doxiadis used as an example his flat in the polykatoikìa designed and built by his office in the late 1950s, at Stratiotikou Syndesmou 2, in the vicinity of the DA headquarters and of two Zygos polykatoikìes (figs. 15-16).65 This building featured the “double skin” façade and prefabricated interior elements (“the marble slabs,” “basic furniture,” the “ready-made door”) designed on “a 75-cm (one Roman step) modulus.”66 In Doxiadis’s eyes, this polykatoikìa captured the human scale in (his) architecture and showcased the advantages of modular design and prefabrication. Nonetheless, this building constituted a special case, where the renowned architect, apart from being the co-designer and the contractor, was also the owner of the plot and the promoter of the finished apartments.67 As the story of Zygos proves, his intention to standardize the design and construction of the polykatoikìa remained largely unfulfilled.

Figure 15: The original of figure 62 in page 133 of Architecture in Transition portraying Doxiadis’s polykatoikìa at Streets Stratiotikou Syndesmou and Xanthippou, Kolonaki, Athens (late 1950s). The caption reads: “Modulus in practice.”

Figure 15: The original of figure 62 in page 133 of Architecture in Transition portraying Doxiadis’s polykatoikìa at Streets Stratiotikou Syndesmou and Xanthippou, Kolonaki, Athens (late 1950s). The caption reads: “Modulus in practice.”

Source: Athens (Greece), Constantinos A. Doxiadis Archives, file 17388. © Constantinos and Emma Doxiadis Foundation.

Figure 16: Exterior view of Zygos’s polykatoikìa at Fokylidou Street. At the background, Doxiadis’s polykatoikìa at Streets Stratiotikou Syndesmou and Xanthippou.

Figure 16: Exterior view of Zygos’s polykatoikìa at Fokylidou Street. At the background, Doxiadis’s polykatoikìa at Streets Stratiotikou Syndesmou and Xanthippou.

Source: Athens (Greece), Constantinos A. Doxiadis Archives, photographs file 30893. © Constantinos and Emma Doxiadis Foundation.

  • 68 Athens (Greece), Constantinos and Emma Doxiadis Foundation, Doxiadis Archives, file 18961, S–D 891 (...)
  • 69 A growing amount of planning policy studies were presented at important venues starting in the ear (...)
  • 70 Πρακτικά Γ’ Πανελληνίου Αρχιτεκτονικού Συνεδρίου (1963) [Proceedings of the 3rd Panhellenic Archit (...)
  • 71 Like Bernard Rudofsky, Amos Rapoport, John F. C. Turner, Paul Oliver and other important theorists (...)
  • 72 For instance, recent research has revealed that the renowned critical regionalists Suzana and Dimi (...)

34Doxiadis’s bona fide interest in informal urbanization was geared towards understanding and controlling the processes involved through the self-proclaimed science of human settlements, namely ekistics. We must wonder, however, whether he failed to recognize the specific socio-economic conditions that applied to the construction of a polykatoikìa. After all, he knew that “all the contractors in Athens, involved in polykatoikìes, mainly profit from the surplus of the land [they exploit],”68 as much as he was aware of the negative impact of land speculation on urban growth. Actually, regarding the participation of architects in the development of a public discourse on planning the Greek city, Doxiadis was not alone in denouncing the handicap of architecture and the apathy of the state in shaping a better urban future.69 At the 3rd Panhellenic Architectural Conference, held under the theme “The Contribution of the Architect and Urban Planner to the Development of the Country,” he challenged his peers to reflect on their actions: “I beg all the colleagues who build polykatoikìes to tell me, if they were to make accurate calculations, whether they made more money from their profession or from land speculation.”70 Apparently, Doxiadis, an internationally renowned architect with considerable influence on Greek planning affairs, maintained a discourse that was at odds with the profit-oriented efforts of Zygos. Certainly, he was more pragmatic—or less romantic—than most of his peers, who theorized about how local practices and the vernacular should inspire architecture.71 He was also more of a businessman than other prominent architects involved in the design of the polykatoikìa.72

35Leaving aside Doxiadis's personal interests, however, one may notice that this seemingly paradoxical stance reflects the complexities of a profession that was caught between the fulfillment of the dreams or promises of modernism and the requirements of the growing real estate market. While, in one way or another, both architecture with a capital “A” and the production of the everyday polykatoikìa were eventually subjugated to broader socio-economic needs or demands, one may wonder if such developments had to go hand in hand with laissez-faire urbanization and the consolidation of individualism. Contesting widespread beliefs, such as the anonymity of the omnipresent polykatoikìa or the impotence of the Greek state to regulate urban growth, is a small but nevertheless valuable contribution to the above question.

36In the end, the important tasks of a scholarship that situates informality among the driving forces of the contemporary city are understanding the rules of the commonplace and unpacking architecture as a complex project, created and shared by multiple agents and actors, and, in addition, revealing the actors behind the curtain of anonymity.

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Notes

1 “Classified Ads” in the daily newspaper Το Βήμα, 24 September 1965, p. 6.

2 On the concept of “global socialism,” see: Łukasz Stanek, Architecture in Global Socialism: Eastern Europe, West Africa, and the Middle East in the Cold War, Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2020.

3 On the failure of Doxiadis’s comprehensive efforts to plan the future of Detroit see Lefteris Theodosis, “Systemic Methods and Large-Scale Models in Ekistics,” Nexus Network Journal, vol. 23, no. 1, 2021, p. 171-186. DOI: 10.1007/s00004-020-00531-y. On the difficulties inherent to creating an interracial community in the Philadelphia neighbohood of Eastwick, see Guian A. McKee, “Liberal Ends Through Illiberal Means: Race, Urban Renewal, and Community in the Eastwick Section of Philadelphia, 1949-1990,” Journal of Urban History, vol. 27, no. 5, 2001, p. 547-583. DOI: 10.1177/009614420102700501.

4 Constantinos A. Doxiadis, Ekistics: An Introduction to the Science of Human Settlements, London: Hutchinson, 1968.

5 On centrally-planned mass housing see Miles Glendinning’s milestone, Mass Housing. Modern Architecture and State Power – a Global History, London; New York, NY: Bloomsbury, 2021 and Tom Avermaete, Mark Swenarton and Dirk van den Heuvel (eds.), Architecture and the Welfare State, London, New York, NY: Routledge, 2015.

6 On contemporary readings of the polykatoikìa see: Ioanna Theocharopoulou, Builders, Housewives and the Construction of Modern Athens, London: Artifice Books on architecture; Black Dog Publishing, 2017; Richard Woditsch, The Public Private House: Modern Athens and its Polykatoikìa, Zürich: Park Books, 2019.

7 Ricardo Agarez and Nelson Mota, “Architecture in Everyday Life,” Footprint, special issue The “Bread & Butter” of Architecture, no. 17, 2015, p. 1-8. DOI: 10.7480/footprint.9.2.1090.

8 John Summerson, “Bread & Butter and Architecture,” Horizon, no. 34, October 1942, p. 233-243; Dell Upton, “Architecture in Everyday Life,” New Literary History, vol. 33, no. 4, 2002, p. 707-723. URL: https://www.jstor.org/stable/20057752. Accessed 24 October 2022.

9 Ibid.

10 Bernard Rudofsky, Architecture without Architects: Α ShortΙntroduction to Νon-Pedigreed Αrchitecture, Exhibition Catalogue, New York, NY: MOMA, 1965; Amos Rapoport, House Form and Culture, Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1969. Interestingly, Bernard Rudofsky sought Doxiadis’s opinion about his book (see Dimitris Philippidis, Κωνσταντίνος Α Δοξιάδης (1913-1975): Αναφορά στον Ιππόδαμο [Constantinos A Doxiadis (1913-1975): Reference to Hippodamus], Athens: Melissa, 2015, p. 97). Also, Rapoport cited Architecture in Transition’s observation that less than five percent of dwellings in the world are designed by architects (p. 2). On a revealing discussion about the ways autonomy in architecture, as raised by Rapoport, Oliver, and Turner, was influenced by the United Nations discourse on shelter in the Third World, see Anooradha Iyer Siddiqi, “Architecture Culture, Humanitarian Expertise: From the Tropics to Shelter, 1953-93,” Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, vol. 76, no.  3, 2017, p. 367-384. URL: https://www.jstor.org/stable/26419017. Accessed 24 October 2022.

11 One important instance of this reading is found in Kenneth Frampton’s foreword to the Greek translation of Modern Architecture: A Critical History (see: Kenneth Frampton, Μοντέρνα Αρχιτεκτονική. Ιστορία και κριτική [First published as Modern Architecture: A Critical History, London: Thames and Hudson, 1908], Athens: Themelio, 2009, p. 13-20). According to Frampton, “the unofficial language of the polykatoikìa, largely designed by non-architects and engineers, emerged as a kind of laïque [popular] culture, built for the people, of the people, by the people. In this regard, the polykatoikìa yielded a remarkably unified urban texture, comparable to another Mediterranean/white city of virtually the same moment in time, namely the city of Tel Aviv, the primary difference between the two being that the Athenian fabric was much denser.” Kenneth Frampton, “Foreword” to Ioanna Theocharopoulou, Builders, Housewives and the Construction of Modern Athens, op. cit. (note 6), p. 7.

12 Doxiadis Organization comprised a number of enterprises active on an array of sectors: publishing, tourist development and yachts (Delta Maritime Ltd), imports (Intrade Ltd), commerce (Triaina Ltd), and frozen seafood (Zephyros S.A.). Doxiadis’s entrepreneurial endeavors on Sector 3 included the short-lived “Geotechniki,” “Precast,” “Epoxies,” and “Solines.” See: Athens (Greece), Constantinos and Emma Doxiadis Foundation, Doxiadis Archives, file 18961, S–D 8918: Doxiadis Confidential Sign dated 15.01.1965, Signs by C. A. Doxiadis (S-D) Concerning Various Issues (1964-1967). Being Zygos’s president, Doxiadis held the 6/10 of its shares, while two of his long-time partners, civil engineer Petros Doanidis and architect Victor Vafiadis, initially held the rest. Other members of the founding management council were Doxiadis’s brother Kyriakos, architect Arthur Scheepers, legal advisor Alexandros Saratsoglou and economist Aggelos Tsitseklis, all of whom had worked with Doxiadis since the Greek Reconstruction period. See: Athens (Greece), Constantinos and Emma Doxiadis Foundation, Doxiadis Archives, file 29033, Zygos S.A.: Minutes of General Meetings, 1963-1975, and the Official Government Gazette, Bulletin of Sociétés Anonymes, no. 112, 30.03.1962.

13 Athens (Greece), Constantinos and Emma Doxiadis Foundation, Doxiadis Archives, file 192025, Signs by C. A. Doxiadis (S-D) Concerning Doxiadis Group Activities (1965-1971), S-D 58: Doxiadis Confidential Sign dated 21.04.1965, and file 19607, S-D Zygos Signs (S-ZYG) 1970, S-ZYG 169: Zygos Sign dated 27.11.1970.

14 Athens (Greece), Constantinos and Emma Doxiadis Foundation, Doxiadis Archives, file 18961, S–D 8918: Doxiadis Confidential Sign dated 15.01.1965.

15 Athens (Greece), Constantinos and Emma Doxiadis Foundation, Doxiadis Archives, file 19025, S–D 163: Doxiadis Confidential Sign dated 14.08.1965, Signs by C. A. Doxiadis (S–D) Concerning Doxiadis Group Activities (1965-1971).

16 “Austin Company, Designers, Engineers, Builders” was one example. See Athens (Greece), Constantinos and Emma Doxiadis Foundation, Doxiadis Archives, file 19182, S–D 880: Sign dated 17.07.1970, Zygos S.A.: Signs by C. A. Doxiadis (1968–1972) and SD–DC 1063.

17 Athens (Greece), Constantinos and Emma Doxiadis Foundation, Doxiadis Archives, file 19607, S–ZYG 169: Zygos Sign dated 27.11.1970.

18 Athens (Greece), Constantinos and Emma Doxiadis Foundation, Doxiadis Archives, file 19008, SD–DC 13477: Doxiadis Confidential Sign dated 16.10.1970, Signs by C. A. Doxiadis (S-D) Concerning various issues (1970-1972). Doxiadis even proposed the development of a precast concrete industry in Greece which could supply Zygos. For the importance of theory and practice within the educational concept of ekistics, see: Demetrius Iatridis, “Ekistics Education and Training: Vision or Tool?” in Yota Kazazi (ed.), Ο Κωνσταντίνος Δοξιάδης και το Έργο του [Constantinos Doxiadis and his Work], Athens: Technical Chamber of Greece, 2009, p. 141.

19 Athens (Greece), Constantinos and Emma Doxiadis Foundation, Doxiadis Archives, file 19025, S–D 163, and SD–DC 322: Doxiadis Confidential Sign dated 16.02.1966.

20 Athens (Greece), Constantinos and Emma Doxiadis Foundation, Doxiadis Archives, file 19025, S–D 163: Doxiadis Confidential Sign dated 14.08.1965.

21 Even the owners of Zygos’s first polykatoikìes’ apartments were unaware of the fact that Doxiadis’s firm was behind Zygos. Petrouli (name changed) family, landowners of Zygos’s polykatoikìa at Kallistratous Street, interview with Konstantina Kalfa and Stavros Alifragkis, 16.11.2021. See also Zygos’s ads at the journals To Bήμα and Τα Νέα.

22 There is the record of three more polykatoikìes (2 in central Athens and 1 in the suburbs) which were designed by Zygos and never built. See Athens (Greece), Constantinos and Emma Doxiadis Foundation, Doxiadis Archives, file 19606, DO General Issues (1973-1978), Drawings Archive. Apollonion in Porto Rafti was planned as a part of a larger initiative for resorts including a series of other holiday villas complexes. See: Athens (Greece), Constantinos and Emma Doxiadis Foundation, Doxiadis Archives, file 19607, Zygos Signs (S-ZYG) 1970, S– ZYG 180: Letter to Doxiadis dated 31.12.1970. For more on Apollonion see: Constantinos Doxiadis, “The Community of Apollonion,” Ekistics, vol. 37, no. 219, 1974, p. 143-146 and Kostas Tsiambaos, From Doxiadis’ Theory to Pikionis’ Work: Reflections of Antiquity in Modern Architecture, London; New York, NY: Routledge, 2017 (Routledge Research in Architecture), p. 114-116.

23 From 1960 to 1973, gross domestic product grew at an average annual rate of 7.7 percent, the fastest rate in western Europe. See Graham T. Alison and Kalypso Nicolaidis, The Greek Paradox: Promise vs Performance, Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1996 (CSIA Studies in International Security), p. 43.

24 In 1970, Zygos sold 26 apartments; in 1971, it sold 17; and in 1972, only 8. Meanwhile Zygos’s vacant apartments in Kolonaki, Kallithea, Piraeus, Nea Smirni and P. Faliro were being advertised for sale in the newspapers.

25 Athens (Greece), Constantinos and Emma Doxiadis Foundation, Doxiadis Archives, file 19182, SD–DC 582: Sign dated 30.09.1968, and SD–DC 603: Sign dated 28.10.1968.

26 Athens (Greece), Constantinos and Emma Doxiadis Foundation, Doxiadis Archives, file 19008, S–D 14560: General Comments on the Sectors Programming, Sign dated 30.01.1972. By all accounts, Zygos’s liquidity peaked in 1968; from then on, its debts climbed sharply.

27 Athens (Greece), Constantinos and Emma Doxiadis Foundation, Doxiadis Archives, file 19025, SD–DC 682: Doxiadis Confidential Sign dated 06.06.1969.

28 Athens (Greece), Constantinos and Emma Doxiadis Foundation, Doxiadis Archives, file 19055, Signs by C. A.Doxiadis (SD-DC) Concerning Doxiadis Group Activities (1973-1975), SD–DC 3193: Doxiadis Sign dated 27.07.1974.

29 Pavlos M. Delladetsima, “Απόψεις, Θεωρίες και Πρακτικές Σχεδιασμού του Χώρου Κατά την Περίοδο της Ανασυγκρότησης και τη Δεκαετία του ’50 [Views, Τheories and Practices of Physical Planning During the Reconstruction Period and the 50s],” in Η Ελληνική Κοινωνία κατά την Πρώτη Μεταπολεμική Περίοδο (1945-1967) [Greek Society in the First Post-War Period (1945-1967)], Athens: Sakis Karagiorgas Foundation, p. 561-572.

30 Legally, this was a proclamation directly published in the Government Gazette signed and ratified by the King of Greece (Pavlos the First) rather than voted in the Parliament. It was passed during the service of the Fourth Revisionary Parliament and is commonly known as the Κη’ Psìfisma (Κη’ being the ancient-Greek numeration for 28, while psìfisma—ψήφισμα—is the Greek word for decree). Official Government Gazette Α 184/23.08.1947. See more: Lefteris Theodosis, Victory over Chaos? Constantinos A. Doxiadis and Ekistics, 1945–1975, Ph.D. dissertation, Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya, Barcelona, 2015, p. 56-60 and Konstantina Kalfa, “Antiparochì and (its) Architects: Greek Architectures in Failure,” in Arindam Dutta, Ateya Khorakiwala, Ayala Levin, Fabiola López-Durán and Ijlal Muzaffar (eds.), Architecture in Development: Systems and the Emergence of the Global South, London; New York, NY: Routledge, 2022, p. 675-704.

31 See Doxiadis’s articles in the Greek Newspaper Το Βήμα (19 August 1947), p. 1 and (24 August 1950), p. 1 and Decree 28’s “Εισηγητική Έκθεση [Explanatory Memorandum]” in Konstantinos Sifneos, Πανδέκται Νέων Νόμων και Διαταγμάτων [New Laws and Decrees], no. 22, Athens: 1947, p. 349-350.

32 Dimitrios N. Fountoulis, “Αι Οικονομικαί Συνέπειαι εκ της Φορολογίας των Νεόδμητων [The Financial Consequences from the Newly-Built Buildings’ Taxation]” Τεχνικά Χρονικά [Technical Chronicles], no. 47, 1953, p. 24.

33 Constantinos Doxiadis, “Ο Αγών Επιβιώσεως του Λαού μας: Ο Ιδιωτικός Τομεύς του Σχεδίου [The Battle for the Survival of Our People: The Private Sector of the Program]” Το Βήμα (24 August 1950), p. 1.

34 Konstantina Kalfa, “‘Giving to the World a Demonstration’: US Housing Aid to Greece, 1947–1951,” Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, vol. 80, no. 3, 2021, p. 304-320. DOI: 10.1525/jsah.2021.80.3.304; Richard Harris and Godwin Arku, “Housing and Economic Development: The Evolution of an Idea since 1945,” Habitat International, vol. 30, no. 4, 2006, p. 1007-1017. DOI: 10.1016/j.habitatint.2005.10.003. On the fact that American advisors, like Crane, hoped that homeownership would have an inoculating effect against radical impulses and communism see: Nancy H. Kwak, A World of Homeowners: American Power and the Politics of Housing Aid, Chicago, IL : University of Chicago Press, 2015 (Historical Studies of Urban America)

35 Ilias Katsikas, “Κρίση Κατοικίας στην Ελλάδα: η Πολιτική Οικονομία της Αντιπαροχής [Housing Crisis in Greece: The Political Economy of Antiparochì],” Επιθεώρηση Κοινωνικών Ερευνών [Social Science Review], vol. 83, 1991, 48-76.

36 Agni Roussopoulou, “Πολυκατοικίες Πολυτελείας: ή Λαϊκές Κατοικίες [Polykatoikìes of Luxury or Polykatoikìes for the People?]” Νέα Οικονομία [New Economy], vol. 4, no. 9, 1950, p. 422-427,

37 Vivid discussions on extending the timeframe of the Decree’s validity were held in the Greek Parliament in different occasions, between May 1949 and November 1962.

38 Generally, deficits in stateness (quasi, failed, backward) are considered endemic conditions of specific states beyond northern Europe. On the Mediterranean context see: Maurizio Ferrera, “The ‘Southern Model’ of Welfare in Social Europe,” Journal of European State Policy, vol. 6, no. 1, 1996, p. 17-37. DOI: 10.1177/095892879600600102 and on housing systems in particular, Judith Allen, James Barlow, Jesús Leal, Thomas Maloutas and Liliana Padovani, Housing and Welfare in Southern Europe, Oxford: Blackwell Publishing, 2004 (Real Estate Issues), p. 8-10. On the Global South context see: Richard de Satgé and Vanessa Watson, Urban Planning in the Global South: Conflicting Rationalities in Contested Urban Space, Cham: Springer, 2018. On how global experts (architects and planners), like John F.C. Turner, attributed the fact that people operated outside the law to secure housing on the state’s failure, see: Helen Gyger, Improvised Cities: Architecture, Urbanization and Innovation in Peru, Pittsburgh, PA: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2019 (Culture, Politics and the Built Environment), p. 126.

39 Pavlos M. Delladetsima, “Rent Control Measures of Immediate Post‐war Period (1944–1952) and their Impact on Urban Development in Greater Athens,” European Planning Studies, vol. 7, no. 3, 1999, p. 325-338. DOI: 10.1080/09654319908720521.

40 Compulsory Act 395/68 “On Βuilding Ηeight and Unrestricted Construction Building.” See also Babis Drakopoulos, “Χρήσιμα Στοιχεία… [Useful Facts…],” in Katerina Zoitopoulou-Mavrokefalidou (eds.), Όταν η Οργή Ξεχειλίζει [When Rage Overflows], Athens: Paraskinio, 2006, p. 164-172, p. 165 and Paschalis Samarinis, “Urban Politics, and Public Discourses on the City During the Greek Dictatorship (19671974): Continuities and Ruptures in Postwar Modernization,” Journal of Modern Greek Studies, vol. 35, no. 2, 2017, p. 397-424. DOI: 10.1353/mgs.2017.0025.

41 See for instance, Pavlos Athanassakis, “Αστική Στέγη, Κρατική Πολιτική [Urban Housing, State Policy],” Tεχνικά Χρονικά [Technical Chronicles], no. 32, 1953, p. 14-22; “Ενέργειαι του Τ.Ε.Ε. δια την Παράτασιν του ΚΗ' Ψηφίσματος [Technical Chamber’s Actions Regarding the Prolongation of the Decree 28],” Τεχνικά Χρονικά [Technical Chronicles], no. 30, 1953, p. 29-30; Α. Roussopoulos, “Το Τ.Ε.Ε. δια τας Μελετωμένας Τροποποιήσεως του ΚΗ’ Ψηφίσματος [Technical Chamber’s Opinions Regarding the Studied Amendments to the Decree 28],” Τεχνικά Χρονικά [Technical Chronicles], no. 88, 1955, p. 25-26.

42 According to newly acquired research data, in 1965 all building permits for polykatoikìes via antiparochì were signed by both architects and civil engineers (in a ratio of one to three, which is close to the ratio of licensed architects to civil engineers between 1945-1965): From a random sample of 850 building permits for polykatoikìes in 1965 (out of a total of 1,354 building permits for polykatoikìes in the same year), it is estimated that at least 313 (36.8%) were made through the system of antiparochì. Out of these 313, 98 were signed by architects (almost 1/3). This is one of the results of the research program “Antiparochì and (its) Architects: Histories of Social Forces, Spatial Politics and the Architectural Profession in Greece, 1929-1974” (PI: Konstantina Kalfa) URL: https://www.elke.ntua.gr/en/research_project/antiparochi-and-its-architects-histories-of-social-forces-spatial-politics-and-the-architectural-profession-in-greece1929-74/. Accessed 24 October 2022. See also: Babis Drakopoulos, “Useful Facts…,” op. cit. (note 40), p. 166.

43 Interviews conducted in the context of the research program “Antiparochì and (its) Architects: Histories of Social Forces, Spatial Politics and the Architectural Profession in Greece, 1929–1974,” op. cit. (note 42).

44 As suggested through research on the era’s daily press (classified ads) in the context of the Research Program “Antiparochì and (its) Architects: Histories of Social Forces, Spatial Politics and the Architectural Profession in Greece, 1929–1974,” Ibid.

45 This issue was first raised by economist Kostas Sophoulis in “Το Σύστημα Οικοδομήσεως με Αντιπαροχή, Μηχανισμός Τεράστιας Φοροδιαφυγής [The System of Building through Antiparochì: A Mechanism of Huge Tax Evasion],” Οικονομικός Ταχυδρόμος [Financial Postman], vol. 5, no. 1343, 1980, p. 9-11.

46 Athens (Greece), Constantinos and Emma Doxiadis Foundation, Doxiadis Archives, file 19025, SD–DC 207: Doxiadis Confidential Sign dated 01.09.1965. At the end of 1970, one of the three central administrative units of Zygos dealt with “other individuals’ plot development […] through antiparochì,” Athens (Greece), Constantinos and Emma Doxiadis Foundation, Doxiadis Archives, file 19607, S–ZYG 180: Letter to Doxiadis dated 31.12.1970.

47 In fact, almost every Athenian district had one or two such contractors, dominating the local market of antiparochì, and many more others who tried to compete with them. See: Stavros Alifragkis and Konstantina Kalfa, “Antiparochì–A Short Introduction.” URL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dvjFiopD9wA. Accessed 24 October 2022.

48 Ibid. Athens (Greece), Constantinos and Emma Doxiadis Foundation, Doxiadis Archives, file 18961, S–D 8918: Doxiadis Confidential Sign dated 15.01.1965.

49 Petrouli family, interview with Konstantina Kalfa and Stavros Alifragkis, 16.11.2021.

50 Athens (Greece), Constantinos and Emma Doxiadis Foundation, Doxiadis Archives, file 19607, S–ZYG 171: Mr. Liakos Sign dated 01.12.1970. Kostas Liakos had also been Doxiadis’s collaborator at the International Programs Division of the Athens Technological Institute (ATI) since December 1967.

51 Ibid.

52 Athens (Greece), Constantinos and Emma Doxiadis Foundation, Doxiadis Archives, file 19607, S–ZYG 171: Mr. Liakos Sign dated 01.12.1970, and file 19612, DO Investments: Real estate in Greece, “Table of data comparing apartment prices in Kolonaki,” dated 20.11.1972. Based on available Consumer Price Index (CPI) figures, we estimate that Kakkavas’s apartment prices would start at 7,310 drachmas per m² in 1972, a price which is still much lower than Zygos’s prices.

53 Athens (Greece), Constantinos and Emma Doxiadis Foundation, Doxiadis Archives, file 19607, S–ZYG 171: Mr. Liakos Sign dated 01.12.1970.

54 All of the areas where Zygos built polykatoikìes had been developed with such buildings since 1965 (fig.13). Apart from increases in the FAR, the state energetically promoted urban development in these districts through works of urban infrastructure and public spaces. See: Το Βήμα, 19 January 1969, p. 4; 8 June 1969, p. 5; 14 July 1970, p. 8. Thus, it is not by chance that Zygos built in Nea Smyrni and Faliro in 1971, as well as in the port of Zea in Piraeus in 1969 (see on developments at Zea: Το Βήμα, 25 August 1969, p.14). Interestingly, in 1959, Doxiadis had prepared a proposal for the development of the coast of Faliro (Dimitris Filippidis, Κωνσταντίνος Δοξιάδης (1913-1975) Αναφορά στον Ιππόδαμo, op.cit. (note 10), p. 232).

55 This observation is based on qualitative and quantitative research on Zygos ads in the Greek press.

56 Athens (Greece), Constantinos and Emma Doxiadis Foundation, Doxiadis Archives, file 19182, SD–DC 757: Sign dated 19.11.1969.

57 Ibid.

58 Athens (Greece), Constantinos and Emma Doxiadis Foundation, Doxiadis Archives, file 19607, S–ZYG 161: Sign dated 03.11.1970.

59 Anastasia Tzakou, “Η Eξέλιξη της Πολυκατοικίας στην Αθήνα Μετά τον Πόλεμο, [The Evolution of the Polykatoikìa After the War],” Αρχιτεκτονικά Θέματα [Architecture in Greece], no. 12, 1978, p. 131-143.

60 Athens (Greece), Constantinos and Emma Doxiadis Foundation, Doxiadis Archives, file 19182, SD–DC 757: Sign dated 19.11.1969.

61 Athens (Greece), Constantinos and Emma Doxiadis Foundation, Doxiadis Archives, file 19182, SD–DC 693: Sign dated 12.7.1969, and SD–DC 739: Sign dated 29.09.1969. Doxiadis was interested in different aspects of standardization and yet he was aware that the time was not ripe for applying such methods in Greece. For example, a report that compared the costs of Zygos housing units with PROKAT prefabricated homes found that prefabrication was neither less expensive nor of higher quality. See: Athens (Greece), Constantinos and Emma Doxiadis Foundation, Doxiadis Archives, file 19617, SD-DC 2278 and R-ZYG 1, dated 1.2.1972 and 12.2.1972 respectively, DO Investments: various projects.

62 He used this term for his own polykatoikìa in 2 Stratiotikou Syndesmou Str, where canopies were designed as architectural elements. See Constantinos A. Doxiadis, Architecture in Transition, London: Hutchinson, 1963, p. 150.

63 As explained in this paper, antiparochì can be understood as a symptom of the clientelistic “welfare” politics encountered in countries of the Global South.

64 Constantinos A. Doxiadis, Architecture in Transition, op.cit. (note 62). Translated in five languages (Spanish, Portuguese, German, Japanese, and Chinese), Architecture in Transition was arguably Doxiadis’ most praised publication.

65 These were the polykatoikìa at 6 Fokylidou Street, completed in 1968, and the polykatoikìa at 4A Stratiotikou Syndesmou Street, completed in 1970.

66 Constantinos A. Doxiadis, Architecture in Transition, op. cit (note 62), p. 130-134, 149-151.

67 The apartment block in question was a particular case, where the famed architect gave the attention and the required resources “that critics s[aid] he d[id] not give to detail.” See P. Deane, Constantinos Doxiadis: master builder for free men, [s.l.]: Oceana Publications, 1965, p. 55-56.

68 Athens (Greece), Constantinos and Emma Doxiadis Foundation, Doxiadis Archives, file 18961, S–D 8918: Doxiadis Confidential Sign dated 15.01.1965.

69 A growing amount of planning policy studies were presented at important venues starting in the early 1960s, such as the Panhellenic Architectural Conferences. Indeed, during the 1960s, a “planning ideology” gradually gained support, initially among architects, planners, and technocrats, backed by the first regional development proposals, launched at the time by the Laboratory for Urban Planning Research in the National Technical University of Athens. Certainly, Doxiadis’s own planning proposals since the 1960s (see for instance: Athens (Greece), Constantinos and Emma Doxiadis Foundation, Doxiadis Archives, file 6806, Constantinos Doxiadis, “Our Capital and its Future”) and the establishment of the Athens Technological Organization (Athens Technological Institute and Athens Center of Ekistics) in 1958, contributed significantly to the discourse about the urgent need for planning and architecture. For additional information on the subject see: Paschalis Samarinis, “Urban Politics, and Public Discourses on the City During the Greek Dictatorship (19671974),” op. cit. (note 40); Dimitris Philippidis, Για την Ελληνική Πόλη: Μεταπολεμική Πορεία-Μελλοντικές Προοπτικές [For the Greek City: post-war course-future perspectives], Athens: Themelio, 1990; Ludwig Vassenhoven, “Χωροταξικός Σχεδιασμός στη Δεκαετία του ‘60 [Regional Planning in the ‘60s],” in Η Ελληνική Κοινωνία κατά την Πρώτη Μεταπολεμική Περίοδο (1945-1967) [Greek Society in the First Post-War Period (1945-1967)], p. 109-123.

70 Πρακτικά Γ’ Πανελληνίου Αρχιτεκτονικού Συνεδρίου (1963) [Proceedings of the 3rd Panhellenic Architectural Conference], Athens: Technical Chamber of Greece, 1965.

71 Like Bernard Rudofsky, Amos Rapoport, John F. C. Turner, Paul Oliver and other important theorists of the informal in architecture (see introduction).

72 For instance, recent research has revealed that the renowned critical regionalists Suzana and Dimitris Antonakakis, designers of polykatoikìes for at least 19 antiparochì contractors in Athens, between 1960-1985, saw this as an opportunity to gain valuable experience in residential architecture. According to John Habraken, it is an important category in their work: “The work of Suzana and Dimitris Antonakakis is strongly linked to residential architecture, not only because most of their buildings are private houses, but also because their institutional and commercial architecture shows a strong tendency to maintain the human scale of the house or the cluster of houses. […] Their work is known for its intensive elaboration of architectural elements: entry ways, gates, stairs and steps, windows οf all kinds, porches, courtyards, passages and so on are worked on with love and care,” see: https://a66architects.com/biography/. Accessed 24 October 2022. The fact that the Antonakakises were involved in the design of polykatoikìes via antiparochì is one of the findings of the research program “Antiparochì and (its) Architects: Histories of Social Forces, Spatial Politics and the Architectural Profession in Greece, 1929–1974,” op. cit. (note 42).

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Table des illustrations

Titre Figure 1: Composition with trowel, snail, and bricks, photographed for Zygos S.A. Christmas cards.
Crédits Source: Athens (Greece), Constantinos A. Doxiadis Archives, photographs file 30893. © Constantinos and Emma Doxiadis Foundation.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/abe/docannexe/image/13699/img-1.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 296k
Titre Figure 2: Aerial view of the center of Athens in the late 1960s, illustrating the spread of the typical Athenian polykatoikìa.
Crédits Source: University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Libraries, Harrison Forman Collection, file fr438624.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/abe/docannexe/image/13699/img-2.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 726k
Titre Figure 3: Street view of typical Athenian polykatoikìes with stores at street level (1968).
Crédits Source: University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Libraries, Harrison Forman Collection, file fr438646.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/abe/docannexe/image/13699/img-3.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 583k
Titre Figure 4: Exterior view of Zygos’s polykatoikìa under construction at Pasalimani, Piraeus. Notice the sign advertising Zygos hanging on the balconies.
Crédits Source: Athens (Greece), Constantinos A. Doxiadis Archives, photographs file 30893. © Constantinos and Emma Doxiadis Foundation.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/abe/docannexe/image/13699/img-4.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 501k
Titre Figure 5: Zygos’s polykatoikìes in central districts in Athens.
Légende Left: the polykatoikìa at Charilaou Trikoupi Street, owned by Zygos’s partner Arthur Scheepers (completed in 1965); middle: the polykatoikìa at Ayias Elenis Street, Zografou (1965); right: the polykatoikìa at Kallistratous Street, Zografou (1965).
URL http://journals.openedition.org/abe/docannexe/image/13699/img-5.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 303k
Titre Figure 6: Zygos’s polykatoikìes in central districts in Athens.
Légende Left: the polykatoikìa at Pagkrati (1967); middle: the polykatoikìa at Fokylidou Street, Kolonaki (1967-1968); right: the polykatoikìa at Stratiotikou Syndesmou Street, Kolonaki (1970).
URL http://journals.openedition.org/abe/docannexe/image/13699/img-6.jpg
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Titre Figure 7: Zygos’s polykatoikìes in the Athenian suburbs.
Légende Top left: the polykatoikìa at Κallithea (1969); top right: the polykatoikìa at P.Faliro (1971); bottom left: the polykatoikìa at Pasalimani, Piraeus (1969); bottom right: the polykatoikìa at N. Smirni (1971-1972).
URL http://journals.openedition.org/abe/docannexe/image/13699/img-7.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 655k
Titre Figure 8: One of the many charts prepared by Zygos in 1971 showing the company’s economic situation. Direct costs of polykatoikìes’ construction and yearly sales in dashed line.
Crédits Source: Athens (Greece), Constantinos A. Doxiadis Archives, file 29065. © Constantinos and Emma Doxiadis Foundation.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/abe/docannexe/image/13699/img-8.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 359k
Titre Figure 9: Petroulis’s (name changed) two-story family house at Kallistratous Street built in 1948 (photographed in the early 1950s).
Légende The house was for years among the wealthiest ones in the sparsely populated Zografou district, in Athens. Nonetheless, in 1965, when the family approached Zygos for the construction of a polykatoikìa through antiparochì, their house was one of the last detached single-family dwellings in the neighborhood.
Crédits Source: Permission for publication kindly granted by the Petrouli family.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/abe/docannexe/image/13699/img-9.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 273k
Titre Figure 10: Floor plans for Petroulis’s polykatoikìa on Kallistratous Street.
Légende It is interesting to note that the plans were signed by architect Victor Vafiadis, who had been a close collaborator of Doxiadis since the era of Greek Reconstruction and held a degree from NTUA and a PhD from TU Berlin. Note how the plan is based on a module and follows the existenzminimum dictum. In this case, the dictum maximized profit (by creating more apartments to sell or rent). Later floor plans, such as those for Zygos’s polykatoikìa at P. Faliro, tended to be less devoted to modular design, as Zygos differentiated its marketing approach from the typical contractor’s practices. These later plans display, instead a certain taste for luxury.
Crédits Source: Permission for publication kindly granted by the Petrouli family.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/abe/docannexe/image/13699/img-10.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 202k
Titre Figure 11: Façade of the Petroulis’s polykatoikìa at Kallistratous Street.
Crédits Source: Permission for publication kindly granted by the family.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/abe/docannexe/image/13699/img-11.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 231k
Titre Figure 12: Advertisement for Kakkavas’s business published in the newspaper Ελεύθερος Κόσμος.
Crédits Source: Ελεύθερος Κόσμος, 22 September 1971, p. 1.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/abe/docannexe/image/13699/img-12.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 492k
Titre Figure 13: The sprawl of the Athenian polykatoikìes constructed through the system of antiparochì in 1965.
Légende The black dots mark the locations of Zygos’s polykatoikìes (1965-1972) which apparently follow the era’s city sprawl patterns.
Crédits Source: Research for this map was performed by Konstantina Kalfa and geo-coding and mapping by Eleni Gkadolou.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/abe/docannexe/image/13699/img-13.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 415k
Titre Figure 14: Interior apartment view of Zygos’s polykatoikìa at Κallithea (dated August 1970).
Crédits Source: Athens (Greece), Constantinos A. Doxiadis Archives, photographs file 30893. © Constantinos and Emma Doxiadis Foundation.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/abe/docannexe/image/13699/img-14.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 373k
Titre Figure 15: The original of figure 62 in page 133 of Architecture in Transition portraying Doxiadis’s polykatoikìa at Streets Stratiotikou Syndesmou and Xanthippou, Kolonaki, Athens (late 1950s). The caption reads: “Modulus in practice.”
Crédits Source: Athens (Greece), Constantinos A. Doxiadis Archives, file 17388. © Constantinos and Emma Doxiadis Foundation.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/abe/docannexe/image/13699/img-15.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 480k
Titre Figure 16: Exterior view of Zygos’s polykatoikìa at Fokylidou Street. At the background, Doxiadis’s polykatoikìa at Streets Stratiotikou Syndesmou and Xanthippou.
Crédits Source: Athens (Greece), Constantinos A. Doxiadis Archives, photographs file 30893. © Constantinos and Emma Doxiadis Foundation.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/abe/docannexe/image/13699/img-16.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 744k
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Konstantina Kalfa et Lefteris Theodosis, « Dealing with the Commonplace: Constantinos A. Doxiadis and the Zygos Technical Company »ABE Journal [En ligne], 20 | 2022, mis en ligne le 22 novembre 2022, consulté le 25 mai 2024. URL : http://journals.openedition.org/abe/13699 ; DOI : https://doi.org/10.4000/abe.13699

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Auteurs

Konstantina Kalfa

Adjunct Lecturer of Architectural History at the Department of Theory and History of Art, Athens School of Fine Arts Orcid ID: 0000-0003-1213-9037

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Lefteris Theodosis

Ph.D. UPC - BarcelonaTech, Independant Researcher Orcid ID: 0000-0001-9703-0465

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