The Decrepit Huts of the Athenian Riviera

Magdalini Sgouridi

One will need less than half an hour to travel 19 km from the city centre of Athens to the coast of Vouliagmeni which lies in the edge of the Athenian basin. Hidden from the world yet open to the sea, one can rediscover the Vouliagmeni beach huts as this archetypal Mediterranean architecture without architects. These summer retreats were offered at auction from spring to the first autumnal rainy days. The timber framed structures were inhabited periodically by different tenants each time who patched their winter wounds, only to be abandoned and left to their fall, once and for all twenty years ago. Though each hut feels segregated, an invisible thread and a forgotten tortuous pathway keeps this community still together, despite being jostled among the suburban cosmic villas.  

Sequential layers of paint colours reflect the different users who inhabited the beach huts each year. Despite the vibrant decorating, all the timber boards weather slowly to that greyish ash timber patina.  
The pergola is the threshold. The in-between space where public and private life meet - beneath the climbing Mediterranean greens.
Straight timber boards start to curve as if dance their way to their fall.  
Nature slides in the human structure while transformed into geometrical green timber boards.  
Each beach hut was known and referred to by its unique number. Even today, one can still arrange to meet another ‘at number 18’.

Magdalini Sgouridi

Magda(lini) Sgouridi, is an Athens-born and London-based Architect. She is a graduate of the School of Architecture, National Technical University of Athens [NTUA] and holds an MSc in Architectural Design and Communication. She is a Royal Institute of British Architects [RIBA] Chartered Member. Her works spans from early stages of concept design up to detailing and on site implementation. With a strong interest in archetypal architecture and rediscovering Architecture Without Architects, Magdalini uses writing and photography to further explore her design work while she is always passionate about her research project 'Athenian Stoai ' (the arcades of Athens) which aims to explore the structure of stoa and Agora throughout the years.

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