Last week we have been to Athens and we discovered this amazing skatepark project in the heart of the city. Zachos Varfis (40), works in Athens as architect. “I sill love skating, but the problem was i could not go anymore in places like small skateparks with kids and very young boys, i wanted to find a cool spot for adults to skate”, he told us when we met in a nice café called Kanaria.
The economic crisis in Greece affected the population in many ways, and even if for most of them has been quite tragic, for Zachos it turned to be an opportunity. “The prices of rents dropped down a lot, especially in this area that is still in the center of the city but is affected by a lot of problems, like drugs. We are lucky anyway because the community here is still strong and we did not want to leave the area. When i decided to build my own skatepark, i’ve been looking for a nice place to settle it down, and i found this open space terrain with a very good rent”.
As Zachos is an architect, he started to design the project of “LATRAAC“, so it’s called the space that if everything is going to be fine, will open at the end of May 2016.
“I designed the skatepark in a specific way, maybe a bit more expensive than the usual ones, but i think it will be a great place for skating, with a bowl with nice shapes”. The different parts of the skateparks have been designed and then cut with a machine and Zachos and his friends started to build the area.
“The concept is very easy, i wanted to have a place to spend nice time, to drink something and to skate”, told us the greek architect. “The idea is to open also a small café, in this way it can help the space to cover the expenses. We did also a crowdfounding, but it was not enough to cover everything, so time to time with the few money we got left we are continuing building the area”.
For the area called “KERAMIKOS”, that is suffering of drugs and junkies all over the streets, the opening of this place is a good news. Zachos started having some support from the administration, and we hope that his project is going to become an example about how to help an area to convert in a better one, avoiding the gentrification and keeping the borough with his soul on one side, but also safer for the kids and the population.