This project refers to the conversion of a 1970’s -6 storey- office block to a building of 9 contemporary rental apartments. Principal design parameter was construction cost minimization due to limited budget. At the same time, the proposed renovation had to create an appealing “alternative” habitat, distinct from the various available apartments in central Athens.
RE-STRUCTURING THE PLAN
Geometrical analysis of the original plan reveals a clear rectangular layout. The original stairwell and elevator shaft are positioned on the side of the building, adjacent to the sidewall that marks the boundaries of the plot, between the front and the rear façade of the building. The architects propose a composed core of supporting functions for the apartments (kitchen, wc, bathrooms and storage), located at the center of the plan. The positioning of the core “mirrors” the one of the stairwell, creating two clear rectangular spaces at the front and the rear façade that remain unobstructed from all supporting “small scale” compartments. These spaces constitute the primary living area and they are semi-divided by large sliding panels that offer the flexibility to unite or divide them into smaller units, upon request.
PUBLIC BUILDING – PRIVATE BUILDING
Due to budget related requirements, the pre-existing flooring and cladding of building communal areas were preserved and partially restored. Therefore, coloring became the main instrument for the new architectural design as it is widely used in the form of a geometrical tool that “revises” the impression of existing spaces. At the main façade, painted grey zones produce a secondary grid that restores the impression of horizontal that existed in the original architectural design. In the stairwell, black stripes are painted perpendicular to the human movement, thus vertical in the landing (apartment entrances) and horizontal in the stairs, in order to amplify the experience of the internal space. Painted graphic signs designate the various floor and apartment numbering. Main entrance and garage doors are re-designed. This low budget project aims to revise an existing building by developing a rich architectural language through primal choices – by developing a concrete proposal in regards to structure and geometry that applies to all the architectural choices behind the overall design and manages to produce successful contemporary living spaces through minimal interventions.