By Andres Pachon
A. Pachon, a journalist and skateboard addict, is a full-time writer for SHIT® Magazine.
Greece has suffered a financial meltdown during the last few years because of Brexit, refugee crisis and the election of Donald Trump. Greece is now trying to rebuild itself from economic collapse and some people are quietly trying to help it’s country with some clever ideas and designs. One of those people are Zachos Varfis, an architect that is making a change in Kerameikos, downtown Athens through skating.
Laatrac Skate Bowl As Social Space
Zachos Varfis designed and helped build the Latraac skate bowl and social space in Kerameikos. It is an urban garden and plywood basin that is used for transition skating, it sits on a 300sq meter part of land framed with heavy stone walls and marble slab flooring from demolished 19th century buildings. People don't have to pay to skate in this place and they are catered by a café in the place. This Athenian of 38 years describe the place where the skate bowl was finally done in the autumn of 2016 as a place ´generally considered rubbish real estate and a ghetto, rife with the lawless vices associated with urban degradation´.
He was heartbroken to see how many lives were wasted and sometimes lost in the crisis, so he made Latraac into a paradise, a joy of life full of vibrant creativity inside of the Greek capital. The spot doesn’t have any relation to the landscape around, or to the cultural expression that came out of the place where Latraac was realized.
Athens Skaters Home
Photo: Jason Lee (Unsplash)
Zachos made this place to give the committed Athen’s grown-up skaters a place they can call their own, avoiding children and parents fighting in playground skateparks. He was inspired by Milan’s Bastard Bowl, the Free Basin by the U.S.-based Simparch artist collective and the Prinzessinnengarten community garden in Berlin. For Varfis Latraac it is more than just a skate bowl where people can hang out with friends. Architecture can be seen as a vessel for social change, a spark of progression in the current times.
Varfis wants this place to start reconnecting the citizens with its city, where skateboarding is as important as ever in a country that is trying to recover it’s old self. Zachos is a clear example of how skateboarding can be a way of social change and progression as a relation maker. Latraac goes beyond it’s structure and is now a center for the Athens skate scene.
Read also: The Weirdest Places Anyone Ever Skated