A Greek businessman has stepped in where authorities have failed to clean up the emblematic Averoff Building in central Athens that houses the National Technical University's School of Architecture of unsightly graffiti, making it presentable for an official ceremony later this month.
Ioannis Tseperkas, head of a company that manufactures lighting fixtures, Kouros SA, decided to seize the initiative to spruce up the building ahead of an awards ceremony on June 14 by Europa Nostra, the pan-European Federation for Cultural Heritage, which last year granted the conservation award to the NTUA's School of Architecture for the work it has done on the 19th century edifice. The building, however, has since fallen victim to vandalism, with hundreds of graffiti scrawls marring its facade.
According to Tseperkas, he became concerned about the image the sorry state of the building would leave with visiting officials and decided to take matters into his own hands following a report on the issue by Kathimerini. He went on to get in touch with the head of the School of Architecture, Eleni Maistrou, and expressed his interest in carrying out the building's cleanup.
The businessman put together a crew of 30 of his company's employees and a handful of volunteers, who began the cleanup task on Saturday morning first by washing off the graffiti and then by repainting the walls. The crew worked for 12 straight hours on the first day, starting again in the early hours of Sunday. By 2 p.m., the building looked like new.
"My thinking was that I wanted to help so that the city and my country would not be exposed," Tseperkas told Kathimerini.