Balancing Acts between ancient and modern cities: The Ancient Greek Cities Project of C. A. Doxiadis

Mantha Zarmakoupi

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Abstract

This paper examines the inception and development of the Ancient Greek Cities (AGC) research project (1963–77) of Constantinos A. Doxiadis and addresses the novelty of its methodological approach to the study of classical urbanism. With the AGC project, Doxiadis launched a comprehensive study of the ancient Greek built environment to provide an overview of the factors involved in its shaping. The project produced 24 published volumes — the first two laying out the historical and methodological parameters of the ensuing 22 monographs with case studies — as well as 12 unpublished manuscripts, and through international conferences initiated a wider dialogue on ancient cities beyond the classical Greek world. It was the first interdisciplinary study that attempted to tackle the environmental factors, together with the social and economic ones, underpinning the creation, development and operation of ancient Greek cities. Doxiadis’s innovative approach to the analysis of the ancient city was indebted to his practice as an architect and town planner and was informed by his theory of Ekistics. His purpose was to identify the urban planning principles of ancient Greek settlements in order to employ them in his projects. This paper examines the concept and methodology of the AGC project as well as the ways in which Doxiadis used the study of ancient cities in relation to his contemporary urban/architectural agendas, and explains this important moment in the historiography of ancient Greek urbanism.
Original languageEnglish
Article number19
Pages (from-to)1-22
Number of pages22
JournalArchitectural Histories
Volume3
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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