The Greek Anonymous Company of Chemical Products and Fertilizers (G.A.C.C.P.F.) was built in 1910 by Nikolaos Kanellopoulos. It is situated in the Port of Piraeus, the biggest port of Greece, which is positioned on the border of the urban fabric. The factory was growing rapidly: by 1912, the factory’s facilities had already been doubled due to implementation of new technologies.
This factory was initially created for the production of chemical products and fertilizers, as their production in Greece until then was negligible. Due to its technical innovations, the factory had a key role in the expansion and improvement of agriculture in Greece. For this reason, it had been always financially supported by the Greek state.
At the same time, the factory was also in the epicenter of the political and social changes in Piraeus and Drapetsona. During the first decades of its operation, three events took place that affected its future: World War I, the population inflows of Anatolia and the global economic crisis of 1929. After this turmoil, the factory soon entered a new era of development with significant investments and extensions.
In 1912, the first enclosed settlement for workers was created within the industrial premises. By 1918, 2 two-story, 6 one-story and 2 three-story buildings with residences for workers have been added to the complex. By 1935, additional 31 residences, a school and a medical center for the families of the workers were constructed. The spatial organization of the workers’ complex consisted of the residences on the west side of the factory’s property, forming an autonomous section nearest to the coast.
This was the onset for the establishment of a new identity for Pireaus and Drapetsona. Most of the residents were workers of the G.A.C.C.P.F., while the port and the factories were created later.
Its influence is still felt today; for the residents of Keratsini, Drapetsona and Piraeus, it is a landmark in which all these areas visually converge. Even though it isn’t active anymore, it still infuses the aura of monumentality and identity, not only by its presence, but also by its influence on the urban fabric. Its industrial brutalism has helped to shape the area – an example of ‘thick’ urbanism, consisting of tall buildings. It is as if the austerity of the factory’s shape and its material, concrete, have been dispersed all around the city.
Its current form consists of 6 buildings and infrastructures:
a) the distinctive red and white chimney
b) the 16-cylinder silo of glass factory
c) the sodium sulfate kiln with the arched roof
d) the building of the main kiln (with the distinctive white elements on their roof)
e) the last standing two-storey residence, and
f) the aqueduct tower.
Its surroundings are a property of the Municipality of Keratsini and Drapetsona and have been transformed into a linear park which sprawls around the ruins of the G.A.C.C.P.F., named “Multi-purpose park of Fertilizers”. It consists of a bike line, an open-air theater, a cafeteria and two small courts. This development might be taken as an oxymoron: the place that once influenced the creation of a concrete city without park is now the only park within it.
At the same time, the concrete patina of historicity that has engraved on the collective memory cannot be disregarded. The last buildings and infrastructures that are still standing are those elements that make it a monument of the past and a nonument of the present.
TEXT AND RESEARCH BY: NIKOLETA SIDERI
Nikoleta Sideri is a Greece-based architect with an MSc in Mediterranean Architecture and a specialization in coastal fronts via two theoretical studies “Interactive poles: the transformation of a resident into a tourist” and “Importance of the Milos Mines ruins” and an architectural project “Reconstruction of Milos Mines and creation of a tourist resort”. All her projects come with a theoretical background and an artistic approach. For this reason, she has been involved in various fields apart from architecture, with the art being the common factor to all of them. Since 2013 she has been engaging with art direction and photography in award-winning movies and documentaries in Greece, Great Britain and USA.
Nikoleta wrote that what fascinated her about Nonument project is that it doesn’t promote and publish the fancy part of architecture. Instead, it explores the beauty of abandonded or decomposed structures, as well the connection of a structure with the collective memory. Every building has “a story to tell” and sometimes is this story that makes it significant. This story begins even before the construction of each infrastructure or building, it continues with its era of “glory” and it ends either with the abandonment or with its reuse or reconstruction. Nonument project emphasizes on this last phase and gives the chance to people of different backgrounds to rethink and revalue the importance of invisible structures. In my point of view, every monument possesses the aura of monumentality and the idea of the “ruin” declines along with the vision of a new era, which needs to be explored.
1910 Nikolaos Kanellopoulos
1910 New, in function
Form of government
Spatial Planning Agency
Type of heritage and protection