3 +1 level apartment
3 + 1 level apartment TOTAL SURFACE: 409 m2 LOCATION: Athens, Philopappou Hill Transformation of an unfinished interior: between renovation and creation. The project was to adapt a large portion of a small apartment building while in the process of its being built, into a single living unit. The building was already divided into 3 separate apartments, one on each floor, but as the client’s needs for space exceeded the surface of any single apartment, he had to acquire 2/3 of the whole building, so we could merge the two top floors, the (flat) roof and a portion of the basement into a single property. All the concrete structural elements were already in place when we were called to intervene and were not intended to be visible. Most M&E installations (chimneys, air ducts and sewage piping, drains etc) were also in place, so planning was to be restricted within/around those limits. The guidelines to the design were, a) the decision to leave all existing concrete surfaces untouched in order to display all the original structural features we had to work around. b) the building’s location at the foot of Philopappou Hill (one of the few unbuilt hills of Athens) c) the use of a number of mobile elements so as to diversify the layout of each of the main levels whenever needed, psychologically or practically, d) lightness, versatility, simplicity in order to counter the house’s complicated multilevel use e) the use of as few different materials as possible so as to enhance the colours and the presence of nature surrounding the building f) the adoption of sleek finishes on all new surfaces so as to counter the roughness of the existing concrete structural elements (ceilings, beams & columns). The best solution to each level’s ‘limited’ surface seemed to be the division of the space into sections, according to time and type of use: Garden (roof), ‘Day’ (3rd floor), ‘Night’ (2nd floor), and Services (basement). Garden: LEVEL 3, 130 m2, roof. The front of the building overlooks a small park/square and has very pleasant views of the one of the few unbuilt hills in Athens. The back has an equally striking view, in its crude urbanity, of Western Athens. Even though the sea can be seen far away into the Southwestern horizon, the proximity of the built environment is such that a plant barrier had to be created at the back of the 2nd & 3rd floors. In ‘accordance’ to the site, the roof garden is designed as a continuation of the surrounding natural environment. It is exclusively planted with Greek flora and the use of common weeds was the alternative to imported types of grass. (At the time the photographs were taken the weeds hadn’t started to grow). Its existence enhances insulation and lowers environmental temperature by 2-3 ? ‘Day’: LEVEL 2, 130 m2, is an open plan space, on the 3rd floor, which can be reached directly from street level by the building’s elevator, it is connected to the roof garden by a slim staircase and to the 2nd floor sleeping quarters, through the building’s original main stairwell converted into a private staircase. It comprises the main living/reception area, a dining area, the kitchen and a WC and can be partially divided by mobile, (rotating and/or sliding) elements. ‘Night’: LEVEL 1, 124 m2 on the 2nd floor. ‘Night’ translates into two sleeping quarters: the client’s, which is a contained area (bedroom, walk through closet & bathroom), reaching from front to back, so as to enable natural light penetration and his teenage daughter’s bedroom & study. In order to enable space to change according to the needs of a growing human, mobile wardrobe elements were used instead of walls. Spaces like a TV/guest ‘room’ or a bigger bedroom can be created depending on the configuration of these elements. The apartment has two entrances: one on the landing of the second floor and a direct lift access to the living area. ‘Services’: + 1 underground level, 25 m2 This is the remotest section of the apartment, situated in the basement. It includes a laundry room with an adjacent storage space. In order to facilitate laundry transportation, a laundry chute was installed in the SW corner of level 2. Unfortunately we could not incorporate a mini service lift into the existing structure, so fresh linen & clothes have to be brought up to the apartment by the main elevator. Regarding the building’s facade, we specified the type and colour of the aluminum profiles for the openings, which bear energy-saving glass panels.


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