On this day in 1968, legendary Greek architect Pikionis Dimitris died aged 81

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Pikionis Dimitris is remembered as one of societies greatest modern architects, highly recognised for his work in shaping modern Greek architecture, particularly the streets of Athens.

Dimitris was born in Piraeus in 1887 by parents of Chiot descent. By 1908, he became the first student to be taken by K. Parthenis, a distinguished Greek painter at the time. In the same year, he graduated with a degree in Civil Engineering from the National Technical University of Athens and set out to work and study in Paris.

While Dimitris attended architectural composition lessons at the École des Beaux-Arts, his true desire was to work with painting, not architecture. 

View of the Saint Dimitrios Loumbardiaris courtyard and the path leading to Filopappou Monument, 1954–58. Photo: Agni Pikioni Archive, Dimitris Pikionis A.M.K.E., Athens

In 1912, in the period of military recruitment for the Balkan wars, he returned to Greece and began to design his first houses from the folk architecture of Aegina. Being limited to designing blueprints for graves in the 1940s and 1950s, Dimitris got his big breakthrough after being given the opportunity to work on the formation of the archaeological site around the Acropolis and Philopappos Hill.

One of his longest projects, it became his most important and famous work that still leaves it’s mark on the city of Athens. He particularly made use of rough-finished marble for his designs, using various shapes that appear irregular, yet are strictly geometric.

The combination of his artistic imagination and structural knowledge in architecture made his work recognised by some of the worlds greatest architects and world leaders.

In 1966, he was elected a regular member of the Academy of Athens (order of Letters and Arts) in the Architecture Chair.

Dimitris died in Athens on 28th of August 1968, aged 81.

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