Twin Houses in Athens

The transformation of an oversize, offcolor suburban home from the 1980ies into a contemporary, multi-level twin house compound was a great challenge: Stripping the building of all post-modern features was a requirement from the outset, and so was the redesign of the roof and the removal of large segments of the existing balconies. After scrutiny into the existing structure, the need of reinforcing earthquake protection was brought to the surface, to comply with current regulations.

The chosen solution was the construction of a new façade of reinforced concrete, wrapping around the existing one, securing structural resilience. This new, 25cm-thick shell sits upon the ground and extends all the way to the upper levels and to the newly built butterfly roof. This solution is consistent with the regulations for structural reinforcement of existing buildings.

Both houses were arranged in three main levels, taking advantage of the view to the nearby mountain; the volume is divided in two equal parts, along the North-South axis. This division is extruded and highlighted with wood cladding, beginning from the entrance and the foregarden, crossing through the interior of both houses and delineating the open, sheltered spaces in the backyard.

All external facades, as well as parts of the structural frame in the interior, are built in bare reinforced concrete with a visible formwork of lightly smoothened horizontal and vertical boards. Sloping roofs finalize the volume and allow light and air into the bedrooms. The terrace accommodates light wells for the service areas.

Special attention was given to outdoor transitional spaces, such as the new metal and wooden balcony on one of the two houses’ second floor. Besides the vertical partition dividing the houses, wood has been used on the levels of the living spaces, on indoor and outdoor floors, as well as on interior dividing walls, cabinetry etc. Moreover, metal was used in the construction of the two new stairwells and elevator towers, connecting all levels.

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