Athens offers a complex city image made of visual collages with images of the past, a warm Mediterranean landscape and an exceptional topography
The program of unification of the archaeological sites of Athens, decided in 1985, was intended to design into the city center an uninterrupted space of nearly 700 hectares including the monuments and archaeological sites, to connect them to parks and public, cultural and leisure spaces. This sector was the subject of a study of the lighting master plan approved in 2001.
It is the landforms and the natural landscape of Athens that best tell today of the ancient city and can help to find at night the atmosphere of the ancient pathways.
The study therefore proposed to focus on these landscape and topography to compose an overall night image, evocative of the city’s past. The propositions relied on an asymmetrical lighting of urban fringes bordering the archaeological sites but also on the need for preservation of the darkness at the heart of sites, so as to magnify the emotional impact in the background of illuminated reliefs and monuments.
The first works carried out in 2002 on Areopagitou and Pavlou avenues, which enclose the South and West parts of the Acropolis, allowed to create this asymmetric light atmosphere to offer walkers the reassuring choice of a path intensely lighted near the facades or the dark space on the edge of archaeological parks, more propitious to reverie.
The observation on site gives a distinct advantage to the dark side preferred by a large majority of passersby contrary to conventional wisdom.