Dimitris Pikionis was born in 1887 in Piraeus to parents from Chios. As a child he had an inclination to draw. In 1904 he enrolled in the Technical School and in 1906 he became the first student of painter Konstantinos Parthenis. During his studies he developed friendly relationships with Anastasio Orlando, Joseph Pestarini, Giorgio de Chirico, Dimitris Kampouroglou and Periklis Giannopoulos. In 1908, after graduating from the Technical School as a civil engineer and at the urging of Parthenis, Pikionis went to Munich to study painting. In 1909, he went to Paris, on the occasion of some of Paul Cézanne’s works, and remained there until 1912. However, thinking that his finances wouldn’t help him on the journey he had taken, he spent the rest of his time in the French capital learning everything regarding architecture.
He returned to Greece and after his military service, he began to study the architecture of the Modern Greek tradition. In 1925 he became a temporary professor at the Department of Decoration of the Technical University of Athens. Five years later he became permanent and continued to teach until 1958. Pikionis built the first house (the house of Moraitou) in 1923 in Tzitzifies — a building with a style of Attic folk architecture — while in 1933 he built the Primary School in Pefkakia, Lycabettus. Its pure cubic structure intertwines with the pine-covered landscape, seeking functionality and the coupling of the shape by erasing the boundaries. However, at that time he realised that he wasn’t satisfied with his works and changed his aesthetic perceptions. He thought that the global spirit must be connected with the spirit of ethnicity. All his subsequent architectural works were based on this concept. The houses in Kypriadou, the house of Moraitis in Tzitzifies, the prefabricated tombs, the apartment building in Heyden, the “Xenia” hotel of Delphi and the Forest Village in Pertouli, stand out among many others.
Location: Pertouli, Greece
Type: Housing, Research Centre, University
Drawings: Alberto Ferlenga, Pikionis, 1887–1968, 1999
Text: Mia Kollia