Apartment Building in Athens

The design of an apartment building always presents a great challenge; this typology corresponds to the most common mode of living in Greece and it needs updated approaches to its architectural form.

The compound was designed in a corner property in the north suburbs of Athens, at a difficult time for the building industry and for the economy at large. It consists of three apartments: 120m², 150², and a 200m² terraced house. The project was required to keep a balance between marketability and a desired formal and volumetric simplicity.

The positioning of the building in the plot became the starting point for the design development; a simple, elongated rectangular bar was placed adjacent to the back limit, creating ample open-air space for greenery. The simple rectangular volume had large, dynamic, triangular cantilevered balconies attached, embracing its surrounding green space. A central staircase was introduced to maximize privacy between the apartments.

The materials chosen are consistent with the specific location and with its older architecture; stone dresses the ground floor socle, as well as supporting walls that demarcate the entrances.

A shading system at the balcony cantilevers was designed for filtering the view, using 7cm-round cedar wooden components. Those vertical elements are distributed along the facades in varying densities, interacting with the natural light into a dynamic play.

The building facades are clad in grey or black exterior insulation, the open-air space is dressed in chiseled grey marble and the verandas in iroko wood. All materials are natural and harmonize with their pine-wood surroundings.

The apartment layout is simple, and all units were designed to enjoy the same natural light and cross-ventilation; the ample balconies effectively extend the interiors during the summer months. Most apartments include three bedrooms and are equipped with an open kitchen, enlarging the lounge spaces. White and black surfaces come into interplay, mostly in the lounge areas around the fireplace, and natural wood is chosen for case-in furniture. The bathrooms are clad in grey mosaic tiles, combined with wooden fittings. The vertical metal supports in the staircase establish a dialogue with the outdoor wooden shades.

Simplicity and clear lines integrate the outer shell with the interior. The core of the building accommodates covered open spaces that create interesting shelters between indoors and outdoors. Those intermediate, protected spaces, elongated cantilevers and large openings, merging the balconies with the indoor lounges are the optimal design solution for a truly Mediterranean way of living.

Design Team:

Sotiris Hainis, Vana Krimnioti

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