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Aspra Spitia Viotias

Paralia Distomou, Greece
Stairwell
1 of 4
Stairwell
Michael Photiadis

Aspra Spitia Viotias is a purpose built settlement, planned in the 60s to house employees of the Aluminium of Greece factory and mining operations in the area, about 165km west of Athens, Greece

The urban plan was devised by Constantinos Doxiadis, who had had a clear brief, and an ambitious vision about Aspra Spitia. His plan was informed by his Ekistics philosophy, first proposed in 1942 and constantly developed since. Through Ekistics, Doxiadis approached human settlements as complex biological organisms - capable of forming connections with each other, constantly evolving, merging and scaling in orderly harmony with the natural environment. And preserving the purity and beauty of the hills, the seafront, and the olive tree fields within the planning scope of a factory, mines and a worker’s settlement at Aspra Spitia became a key challenge.

All these elements were carefully infused into the inverse L-shaped city plan, which follows the organic contour of the landscape closely: The long leg is flanked by hills, while the short leg is laid across the seafront. Within the resulting space, four neighbourhoods are created, each circled by a peripheral road. The civic, business and administrative forum of the city is located at the junction of the legs, while a recreation and tourism area is laid along the seafront. The entire ensemble is built in a regional Modernist style that incorporates local materials into the residences and the urban landscape, such as stone, wood, and olive trees.

Subsequent phases were executed by architects Michael Photiadis, P. Masouridis and C. Lembessis between 1969 and 1983.