Theodoros -Tzilos _resizedTheodoros Tzilos
I was born in Tripoli of Arcadia, and my family comes from Kalliani, in Gortynia. I have a five-year-old child. I have lived in Athens for 15 years. I began to work when I was eight, at the local repair shop where I used to go after school, and I have since worked as a builder and a driver. I’ve also worked at a petrol station and other places. At the SNFCC construction site, I work as a foreman at the Greek National Opera building. My team ranges from 4 to 15 people, depending on the stage the project is in. We started by shuttering and then pouring concrete over the foundation piles. After us will come the aluminum workers, the builders, the painters, etc. We’re currently making the auditorium seats for the opera. The difficulty in this particular project is that we must take it one step at a time because we cannot predict what will happen next in terms of the construction. In addition, the surface of the concrete also needs to be perfect. We’re not just doing formwork, we’re “making furniture” here. For me, the most peaceful time is lunchtime, but even then I’m thinking what I need to do next, what needs to be fixed, what we need to work more on, and so forth. I hope that the SNFCC will be maintained in good condition for as many years as possible. To be honest, though, I don’t believe that will happen, just like it didn’t happen with the buildings constructed for the Olympic Games. I would like everyone to respect even the last nail I add to the building. I want my children to be able to come and say their father helped to make this. I know that the SNF makes many grants, large and small. I’ve heard that it has bought petrol to heat up schools, or given money for the students’ lunch, if I’m not mistaken. All I have to say about this project is that it’s a jewel for Greece and Europe, and it will promote culture and tourism. Greece is now supporting its culture and its tourism.

Konstantinos Karabelas Resized Konstantinos Karambelas
I was born in Athens and my origins are from Meligalas in Messinia. I’m married; I have no children. In the past, I have worked on the Olympic Metro, the Olympic works, on Moreas in Kalamata, and the Burgas-Alexandroupoli pipeline. I’m a foreman here; my team numbers 16 people, and we work on the perimeter walls of the hill in the park. I came to the SNFCC construction site in September 2013. In the beginning I found it really stressful and wanted to leave. I would go home shaking. Now that we’ve seen the data and the work is starting to take its course, it’s much better. The difficulty in this project is that there are many details and the appearance of the concrete requires much precision. Whenever we take the mould off to reveal the concrete, I get stressed! Also, much of the work takes place at a great height, and we must be careful. The time I relax during the day is outside the construction site, after my shift. I would like, when the project is finished, to bring my wife here and wander around the park safely. I wouldn’t want the park to turn into Pedion Areos, or have the same fate as the Olympic buildings, because I would find that upsetting. The park must be looked after, so that people can enjoy it. When the project is complete, I would also like to visit the new library and the park. It will be the first time I return to see what I made. Before this project, I knew nothing about the SNF. Then I read on the internet and learned about the Foundation’s activities and the SNFCC.

Anastasios Stergiopoulos ResizedAnastasios Stergiopoulos
I’m from Nea Ionia in Volos. I came to Athens in January 2013, specifically for this project. In the past, I had worked as a plumber. Here, I work in the areas of cleanliness, safety measures and, now, at the hill. I have learned cementing, shuttering, building, and other things that will be useful in the future. What strikes me is the incredible attention that is paid to safety, our personal protection, cleanliness, and recycling. A lot of work goes into these areas. On a technical level, I am impressed by the special materials used, their quality, and their variety. Some of them I’m seeing for the first time and have never come across before. The magnitude of the project is also impressive. I would like to use the park, as a green space, in the future, because with the roof of the opera it’ll make a remarkable sight. Also, I’d like to visit the library because I want to learn many things and I think I will find them there. I don’t think I’ll visit the National Opera because I have different tastes - I listen to folk and contemporary music. I would like to underline the matter of cleanliness. We Greeks are a little clumsy. This part of the city was “dirty” and now it’s been cleaned, if I can put it that way. It would be a shame to make it dirty again. It should be kept clean like a painting, like a picture. Before coming here, I knew nothing about the SNF or large firms in general (such as TERNA). Now I have heard about the Foundation and I know it makes grants for environmental and other projects. When it comes to the SNFCC, I know that it will house the Greek National Opera and the National Library of Greece, and there will be an artificial canal and a space to exhibit the most important archaeological finds from the excavations at the site. I am extremely happy to be working on this project, and to be working in general, because I was unemployed for a year and it really got me down. Since coming to Athens, I have found myself again. Working gives me strength and an appetite for living.

Panayiotis Milas ResizedPanagiotis Milas
I came from Karystos in Euboea. I’m married and I have a child. I came to Athens for this project in February 2013. Before working here, I worked as a contractor, laying marble, slabs, and doing stonework. At the construction site, I’m working on the library building. I’ve been here since the excavations, and the project is an experience for me. The projects I’ve worked on in the past were not as large or as complex as this. It’s a lot of work, but I have great colleagues and, by working together, we solve the problems. I can’t wait to get to the stage of plasterboards and marble, which I know well; now we’re on concrete. In the future, I’d like the project to stay in the condition we deliver it. I have never been to the opera and I would like my first time to be in the building we are making here. I believe the library being built here will bear no resemblance to the National Library (on Panepistimiou Street), which I visited with my wife. I knew about the SNF and the SNFCC before I started working here. I would like there to be many projects like this. If only we could have five, or even ten, people like Niarchos. Many people from my hometown would like to come and work here.

Images by: Yiorgis Yerolymbos