European Architectural Competition for the design of a housing and shopping complex in Metaxourgeio, Athens, Greece. Organised by GEK SA and DOMES, International Review of Architecture.
The proposal begins from the study of the relationship between the building and the broader area of Metaxourgeio, as well as the qualities of living in the centre of a modern metropolis such as Athens. The current condition of Metaxourgeio, as well as its adjacent areas, create the current complex and full of contradictions image of the old historical centre of the city. Young residents, refugees, new social strata choose and return to a life in the centre and there construct new neighbourhoods and small communities, reversing the previously degraded condition.
The design itself articulates a transition from the “urban environment” of the main street to the characteristics of the neighbourhood scale. The main volume emphasises the longitudinal axis and mirrors the public image of the street to the structure of the building. The other two volumes derive their spatial expression from the lower density volumes of the surrounding buildings. Typologically, the main invention here is the adoption of the autonomous two-storey residential unit and its architectural elements (raised ground floors, courtyard-passage as an entrance point to the houses, the smaller balconies, et al.) and the latter’s incorporation in a continuous building system. The building is organised on a primary and a secondary grid, which define the basic housing unit of 60m2. These dimensions allow for the formation of larger units by extending the grid laterally and vertically from the basic core.
Finally, the outdoor space of the complex was conceived as a single, shared space for recreation, play and social contact – a “multi-purpose” space for the residents. The design of this space, with its different qualities, the small outdoor living rooms, the use of soft flooring materials that enhance the microclimate, etc. highlight and emphasise a sense of communal and harmonious coexistence for the residents, while at the same time an aspiration to become a reference point for the neighbourhood and the wider area overall.