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Laϊda

With the help of The Greek Ministry of the Environment, Physical Planning and Public Works, The Greek Film Archive has purchased the old cinema “Laϊs” on Iera Odos, where it intends to establish its new headquarters. The restoration of the cinema “Laϊs” has been included in the 3rd Community Support Framework, and a study has already been made for the construction of a projection hall accommodating an audience of 300, along with a smaller viewing room, as well as spaces for the further development of the Museum, the library and the reading-rooms.
Here, in an area of approximately 2,000 square meters, most of the activities of the Film Archive will be hosted, with the intention of turning “Laϊs” into a modern center for the research, rescue, reproduction, and screening of films, as well as for study, documentation and cultural events. These long-range objectives will require the support of the State in order to be fully implemented. Only in this way can the rare material and resources of the Film Archive become accessible to both cinemaphiles and the wider public in Greece – in a center comparable to other European cinematographic archives.

THE RELOCATION OF THE FILM ARCHIVE TO IERA ODOS

The building consists of a large ground floor of about 783 square meters at the corner of Iera Odos and Megalou Alexandrou Street. Various storage and industrial enterprises have taken up residence in the ground floor from time to time. Until 2003, a warehouse for petroleum products and an auto repair and service shop were housed there. The cinema “Laϊs” operated on the roof of the building, with an independent entrance on Megalou Alexandrou Street. All the structural elements of the open-air cinema (screens, auxiliary spaces and bar, projection booth, entrance and stairwell) as well as a number of purely decorative elements have been preserved.
The open-air cinema belonged to the filmmaker Spyros Anestis, who also owned the “Attikon” cinema in Piraeus. “Lais” had a capacity of  600 seats. It opened in 1948 and closed in 1975, along with many other cinemas, retreating before the advancing tide of television. According to the newspapers of 1950 and 1960, “Laϊs” had a weekly programme of three films with two screenings daily. From time to time, there were special complimentary nights for actors and musicians, and, for a period of time, local beauty contests were held there as well.
The listed building housing the historic “Laϊs” cinema  combines two distinct characteristics: those of an industrial building on the ground floor, and a popular eclecticism in the open-air cinema located on the roof of the building. The study commissioned for the Film Archive tries to respect the history of the building as well as the history and identity of the area in which it is located.
The alterations in the listed building of the cinema “Laϊs” were designed to retain the architecture and social character of the building. The architectural elements of the open-air cinema are being kept in their entirety: screen, bar, stairwell, projection booth, metallic decorations and lights. The facade of the building will also retain its original form. The materials (plaster mouldings, metallic doors and windows, metallic decorations) have been kept the same within an overall remodelling. The surfaces, volumes, screen, the entrance and outside stairwell and “modernistic” openings have all been restored to their original condition.
At the same time, inside the building the Film Archive spaces have been designed based on the most modern specifications for the quality of sound, picture and equipment, which are applied in leading cinemas and film archives in other European capitals. The equipment was designed to be able to screen any type of film, video or digital image, in the cinema, reading-room or library.
Under this architectural masterplan, the building is being restored to an absolutely modern standard. The façade overlooking Iera Odos is modest and avoids the garish decorative gestures which currently afflict this historic street. The simplicity of the interior expresses a friendliness towards visitor, viewer and employee alike, while the functional role of any given space, and the advanced technology of the projection rooms and screening areas, determine the composition of the materials, colors and lighting.

THE FINAL FORM OF TΗE LAΪS BUILDING
The refurbishment of the building provides enclosed spaces of about 1,785 m²  distributed over 2 levels (basement of 482 m², ground floor of 783 m², mezzanine of 346 m², rooftop area of 149 m²) as well as about 700 m²  on the roof for the operation of the open-air cinema.
The facilities to be housed in these areas include: a cinema of 200 seats, a special screening room «ciné club» with 60 seats for members, an open-air cinema of 250 seats, Museum of Cinematography, library, audiovisual reading-room, audiovisual archives and office spaces. These spaces are complemented by two foyers and bar, and a small gift shop.