There is nothing more satisfying than to visualize something and to see it implemented. This is an emotion Zachos Varfis knows very well. His project, LATRAAC, is not only interesting from an architectural point of view, but from a social view, as well. LATRAAC has come to Athens and is here to stay, earning the gratitude of the skating community of our city.
*Interview by Yorgos Kelefis
#1. Is LATRAAC a project based on the combination of your love for skating and being a professional architect, or is there something more to it?
I used many aspects of my personality and channeled them in a creative way. Zero Gravity Corporation charges $5,000 for experiencing weightlessness on parabolic flights. Why not have that happen in Keramikos at the price of a beer?
#2. How long did it take you to design it on your computer and how long did it take to implement it at Keramikos?
Fortunately, there was a limited amount of time otherwise I would still be designing it. I had an initial concept in mind which was modified when I had a specific budget at hand. I don’t remember exactly how long the first part took, because I had no time restrictions. The second part took exactly one month.
#3. What do you plan to do on the day of the official opening and how soon do you think it will happen?
I’m planning on having an amazing breakfast. I’m hoping it will happen soon enough-I love breakfast.
#4. What are some of the things you love and despise about our city?
The noise, smokers, people spitting on the streets, cab-drivers, apartment buildings, the radio, advertisements, parked cars on sidewalks, Vyrona, Halandri, Exarcheia, fruit and vegetable markets, the past and surprises.
#5. Who will be welcome at LATRAAC?
LATRAAC is open to everyone. The ramp will be exclusively for skating; bicycles won’t be allowed.
#6. Apart from your friends, who else has supported this project? Were there any sponsorships?
Many people have helped. We were fortunate enough to have an amazing “angel-sponsor” who believed in the social impact this project would have, and restored my faith in humankind.
#7. How do you imagine the official opening of LATRAAC? Which song would you like to hear?
I would like for everyone to drink tea. I would like smoking to be banned in Greece. I would like a 21-year-old Lisa Bonet to be there, trying to catch my attention while singing Bert Kaempfert’s “Caravan”.
#8. What comes after LATRAAC? Are there any projects in the works?
I’m going to take up gardening.