Maggie Smith is learning how a civil engineer preserves history
For twenty-five centuries, the Parthenon has endured wars, fire, earthquakes, looting, an explosion, pollution, and misguided renovations. Now, teams of architects, historians, engineers, masons, and one Georgia Tech student are nearing completion on a painstaking thirty-two-year restoration project.
Maggie Smith is putting her engineering and architectural history studies to work. She's spending seven months in Greece helping to restore one of the world's most famous monuments – the Acropolis of Athens.
Maggie got the idea to apply for the Work Abroad program after traveling to Greece and Italy with Georgia Tech's College of Architecture. She will be working under the direction of Tasos Tanoulas, the architect in charge of the preservation of the Propylaea (monumental gateway) to the Acropolis. Maggie, who is particularly interested in the ethical challenges a project like the Acropolis restoration presents, is the assistant to the head civil engineer on the site.
In her blog, she writes that her office on the top of the acropolis is filled with archeologists, marble craftsmen, architects, engineers, historians, and academics all talking loudly to be heard over the buzz of stonecutters and workers chiseling.
Maggie is working on building her Greek vocabulary and experiencing as much of Greek culture as possible. By the time her family visits, she intends to be able to order an entire authentic meal for them – in Greek.