Open House Thessaloniki 2016

By: Andreas Batsilas

Every Building has a story to tell

Another OPEN HOUSE THESSALONIKI came to an end, and as everyone before, it left me more excited than the previous ones. I personally have volunteered at four OHT events in Thessaloniki and three in Athens, because it is an event that I honestly believe has a lot to offer to the society. Buildings of different eras and of different aesthetic, 85 in total, opened theirs gates to the public, which had the opportunity to navigate into them and listen to the free of charge guided tours. The city transformed into an open museum, whose exhibits where its own buildings and thousands of visitors became familiar with interesting architecture wise spaces.

From Roman monuments to modern office spaces or housing complexes and from museums to eclectic villas, the program of this year’s event had a variety that could satisfy even the most demanding guest! People of all ages embraced the activity and discovered the architectural treasures of their city. On the waiting lines, I saw people of all ages, from school students to seniors, who all came to participate in the tours! It would be worth mentioning now, that the OPEN HOUSE EVENT is not targeted to the construction related professionals only. Yes, of course architects and civil engineers will have a special interest for the subject but great architecture and the story behind every building is something that can be appreciated by a wider audience! This is something that the demographics of the events volunteers prove! Over half of them are not coming from polytechnic schools.

Let me say couple of things more about the volunteers, though. This year we had a little bit more than 700 applicants, from who we sadly needed half of them. It is auspicious that in a country suffering from bad behaviors and individualistic approaches, that this many people want to dedicate a weekend a few hours before that to provide to the public. But it was not only them, actually only us because my self also, even though this year I had increased duties and I was a part of the organizing committee, I still remained a volunteer. It was the Architects, the owner and the communities that trusted us with their space and they provided it for the showcasing of its architecture. It was our donors and the visitors who with their donations helped this event come true. We all were a part of this big event, we were all part of a great team!

But I think somewhere here it would be wise for this article to come to an end. I have already given the seed to anyone who has not previously known the event, to search for it more and to integrate it into his program and for anyone who has participated in one before, I already have said a lot. The OHT2016 aftermath for me is many good experiences, many smiles, and many new friends but also many people who I would be happy to work with again, in the future. The meeting is renewed for Athens, in spring, when if I’m not in dressed in khaki for to serve my country –yes in Greece army is still mandatory- I will participate again as a volunteer!

About the author:

Andreas Batsilas
Andreas Batsilas
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