Planning permission has been granted for a landmark commercial scheme in central Athens by Bennetts Associates and Divercity Architects. Designed for leading, award-winning Greek developer Dimand, the 15,600sqm (GBA) new build scheme will create a workplace of the highest quality with class-leading sustainability credentials, and lush new courtyard garden.
The scheme occupies a prominent corner site on Leoforos Syngrou, a major avenue linking the city centre and the seafront, and will consolidate a major new commercial and cultural destination. The project has broken ground on site and is expected to be completed by early Spring 2022.
Contemporary reinterpretation of traditional design themes and use of local materials are intended to help bed the scheme in as identifiably Athenian. A pair of eight storey buildings are clad in vertical white marble louvres at carefully crafted angles to capture the unique Athenian light and create a choreography of vistas and views to the city, the mountains, and the Acropolis. Sculpting of the roofline above the lower building draws the eye from Syngrou Avenue towards the main entrance on Lagoumitzi street. At street level, a colonnade or ‘stoa’ provides the same signposting together with a new avenue of trees that soften and shade the context. A ‘peristyle’ marks the shared entrance and affords views to a new garden that draws reference from traditional Greek courtyard houses.
The project’s sustainability credentials, targeting LEED Gold, draw on Bennetts Associates and Divercity Architects’ vast expertise but re-evaluated for the local climate. The guiding principle is the Athenian preoccupation with the 3 S’s – ‘shade, shade, shade’. Internally a low energy ventilation system is adopted. Planted upper terraces and a green roof further enhance biodiversity and at the same time help to reduce cooling loads. Using materials with high percentages in recycled content, as steel reinforcement and façade structures reduces the carbon footprint of the project. The choice of materials is based on a Life Cycle Assessment approach to evaluate the embodied carbon of the scheme.
Bennetts Associates and Divercity Architects have designed the scheme to promote health and wellbeing, with natural white marble surfaces throughout; the core and façade located to ensure a good distribution of daylight, and openable windows to ensure abundant fresh air. Occupiers have access to the lush courtyard gardens to create a memorable arrival experience as well as an oasis to be enjoyed as a place of serenity at work breaks or as a social meeting place that can accommodate outdoor events.