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Architects donate a different playground

11 December 2010 / 18:12:49  GRReporter
5486 reads

Marina Nikolova


Since 8.30 this morning, volunteers from the organization KM exemplary neighborhood, Metaksurgio neighborhood residents and their children "roll up their sleeves", despite the bad weather and the snow flakes flying around and began to paint and arrange the new and unique playground in the neighborhood. Cement cylinders in which the children can pass, climb and slide, small gardens of boxes with flowers planted inside, swings and bright orange durable wristbands on which the children to climb have chosen to put the two architects of Vois Architects, who are giving the space to develop the imagination of children. In many of the neighborhoods in the capital the children do not have a place to play, and in the grass there often is the hazard of thrown away syringes, metal objects and all kinds of junk. The initiative of the Organization KM Exemplary neighborhood aims just at that – to make a playground in a large neighborhood where there is not a single one, so as to give them the necessary conditions to play in a safe place where their parents will not have their hair turning white every time a child is away from their sight.

Alexia Milos is one of the founders of the organization and together with the other girls who have worked on the project are now at the children’s playground, taking pictures and shaking with cold because the temperatures are freezing. In spite of that, about fifty children from the neighborhood are running around, chasing each other and really having fun. Girls have brought juices and sandwiches, and at one point even appeared also one of the sex symbols of the Greek theater and cinema - Konstantinos Markoulakis. Children begin to whisper, "Hey, isn’t that the guy from the television. A famous one" and continue their game. Alexia says the actor has come as he was invited by the company, which has sponsored the purchase of the materials for the playground. Here's what else Mrs. Milona said:

"KM Exemplary neighborhood is a non profit corporation aiming at making it a nice place for living and protect the area around the neighborhood Metaksourgio and Keramikos. Accidentally we stumbled upon the place where we built the playground and it was the result from the need to find space for children from the neighborhood to play and for the children as a whole who live in downtown Athens.

Once upon a time there were two sites in this neighborhood - one at the square and one on Mikinon Str. but they were destroyed, the swings and slides were removed. We believe that children need playgrounds in Athens in order to come to live and families to have greenery, parks and in general urban areas for recreation.

In this region there are many empty spaces as there are many archaeological sites and there is a seizure of works which plots thus remain unused. As an "exemplary neighborhood" we wants to get the relevant departments to act. The place where we build the playground belongs to the organization "School buildings" and a kindergarten is planned to be built. But because it is delayed a great deal we said to ourselves that until it is ready we will do something with this parcel. Some time ago we did the same thing with the "temporary gardens", which we planted on three private land properties again in this neighborhood. We entered in, cleaned them and planted orange trees, apricot trees and other plants. Subsequently, the owners contacted us because they were afraid. But we have no claims for permanent use of these areas - our initiatives are temporary, so as to make people care and those parcels to be used for something good, until construction works start.


What you see here we have bought with the financing of a company for natural cosmetics - Keihl's, which has learned about us from the initiative with the "temporary gardens" and later they called us to do something together for the neighborhood. And we made the playground. The girls from the architectural firm came up with the place, decided to use these materials because they are cheap and withstand bad weather, rain, cold. Our funds were limited, but on the other hand we wanted to do something different from the classic children's playgrounds, which we see around Athens. We believe that in this way children will be stimulated in a different way, we want to challenge them to use their imagination and see for themselves what they can do in this garden with flowers, with colors, with shapes. Our idea is to break a bit our standard notions both children and us – the grown ups.

This playground will exist until a kindergarten is built, which will also cover the area which is outside the fence. Here, where we built the playground according to the plan for th kindergarten will be the yard, so if the organization "School Buildings" wants to preserve it - very well, otherwise we will take them back, we will not throw them away, but we will find a place for them.

The playground will be locked with a padlock, because we want it to be for the children and not to come vandals. There will be a code that will be dialed and we will spread it around the residents of the neighborhood by word of mouth. This we are doing in order to be able to protect as far as possible the playground and because we do not have a guard, we came up with this decision. We'll see how it will work because all the things we do anyway are pilot projects and in the process we see how to develop and adapt solutions.

Tags: news society playground children swings architects non profit organization exemplary neighborhood
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