A big part of the greek pavilion is dedicated to the Xenia Hotels.
The Xenia was a nation-wide hotel construction program initiated by the Hellenic Tourism Organization to improve the country’s tourism infrastructure in the 1960s and 1970s. It constitutes one of the largest infrastructure projects in modern Greek history.
Initialy headed by the architect Charalambos Sfaellos, it was actually under the leadership of Aris Kostantinidis that the Xenia hotelsacquired their identity and architectural quality that won intenational acclaim.
Due to its architectural value, the important role that played in the development of tourism of the state and the fact that functioned as social condensers for local communities, the “Xenias” belong in the contemporary architecture and cultural heritage and are part of history of the country.
They are some of the most important public buildings of postwar production. In the early 50 ‘the newly Greek National Tourism Organisation (EOT) starts the program of Xenia, in an effort to develop tourism and the creation of “standard hotel units” with high standards for private entrepreneurs, which will attract visitors from around the world in interesting places with incomplete or nonexistent infrastructure until then.
The study for each new hotel is based on:
1. The selection of the site, depending on the view, the plasticity of the soil, the orientation of the land, the climate of the region
2. The substantial study of a local traditional architecture as a composition of spaces and volumes, without surface decoration
3. A building program that seeks to solve the tourist needs and capabilities of each site
The main common architectural goals for over 40 Xenias, around Greece were:
to integrate into the landscape, the optimum functional organization of floor plans, the identification of operating and construction grid, the simplicity of expression,the separation of public and most private functions, to connect the inside with the outside into an organic whole, the organization of the movement, the standardization of similar sites, the organization of the rooms in the wings, the standardization of the room, the use of materials with the greatest manufacturing and morphological consistency, the low cost manufacturing, the configuration of open spaces, a profound study for parking lots. The design study started from the issue of integration to the site and reached to the construction details or frames and design of operating equipment: furniture, fixtures etc The Architect edited even sculptures or paintings.
Nowadays, and after 1983 that the Xenia program was abandoned, the hotels are following different paths. Some of them were sold to private corporations, have been rennovated and still work as hotels (some of them really luxurious) and on the other hand, the majority, still waiting abandoned for a future, potential requalification.
On the perimeter walls of the pavilion, the curator, Giannis Aesopos presnts the Xenias through composite panels of photos. At the bottom of each panel is placed the actual site of each hotel in order to bring the visitor directly closer to it, combined with original photos and project details of some of them.