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7.1 Bureau of Architectural Research

In 2003, G.P.Lavas was elected a Member of the Academy of Athens at the Chair of History, Theory and Criticism of Architecture. Since 2004 he was the Director of the Bureau of Architectural Research of the Academy of Athens, a Bureau constituted by himself.

The first project was, in cooperation with colleagues from European Universities including: Paris I, Lyon, Belgrade, “Ion Mincu” Bucharest, Athens University, Sofia Academy, Yildiz Technical University in Istanbul and the Greek University of the Aegean. It was entitled “Balkan Capitals from the 19th to 21st century: Urban Planning and the Modern Architectural Heritage” aiming the research and the promotion of a period of Architecture and Town Planning, hardly known to the international bibliography. On December 12th ,2005 the first preparatory meeting was held in Athens in order to organize an Inter-Balkan Congress. The focus was the study of Modern Architectural Heritage in Balkan countries and the awareness of the danger menacing this Architectural Heritage: demolition, falsification and alteration, challenging the continuity of Urban and Architectural History.
The proccedings of the preparatory meeting were published on 2006.
At the Meeting of the South-Eastern European Academies of Sciences (SEEA) held in Istanbul, Dec. 8.2005 for “A Scientific Approach to Cultural Heritage in South-Eastern Europe” – Project Expert’ Prof. Lavas proposed a project for the development and formulation of a “Charter of the Balkan Cultural Heritage” per analogiam (but more detailed and applied to the Balkan regional characteristics) to the “Charter of Venice” (1964). Such an idea could be very useful, because it could bring all the Balkan prominent specialists together, a task politically significant, too. Although a text of this kind could not be differentiated from the already existing Agreements and Charts and the Guidance on inventory and documentation of the CoE and the UNESCO, it could be however a strong unifying element for the people in the Balkans; it could be their programmatic frame of obligations. In the Balkan Peninsula, where still strong nationalistic and ethnic cleavages appear, and a turbulent tradition in wars and conflicts cannot be forgotten, the “Charter of the Balkan Cultural Heritage” (as a mutual and internal expression of the Balkan soul and spirit), signifies a lot of things: a new feeling for the previous historical identity created during the Prehistorical, Greek, Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman common cultural coexistence, as well as the expression of ethnic pride, developed during the last two centuries. The will for such a new model of Balkan cooperation seemed to be very positive in the countries Prof. Lavas visited. If all scientific Academies of the Balkan countries accepted the idea, it could play a decisive role in the matter. “The Academy of Athens (the oldest Academy of the region)” he noted “may assume the initiative to bring all academies (with the representatives of the departments of Conservation) in cooperation for the draft of this “Charter”. A colloquium or Congress, organized and financed by the Council of Europe / European Union, could be a first step to the issue. The meeting place for starting this initiative could be the Academy of Athens or elsewhere”.