Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Alfa Alfa Holdings Headquarters - [Athens]

Alfa - Alfa Holdings is a Greek company involved in construction, energy and services.

The new headquarters of the company were designed by AETER architectural office and was awarded a prize in the competition for Mediterranean architecture "Archittera" for the aluminum facades and the bioclimatic character of the building.

The building complex consists of two main volumes. Between them there is an internal square that connects the city with the business place. Τhe glass facades are constructed independently and form a double cell creating a neutral zone that helps the thermal insulation of the offices and of the square.


Monday, January 15, 2007

Thessaloniki Concert Hall - [Thessaloniki]

The Concert Hall of Thessaloniki, is built along the coast of the city, near the Poseidwnion Sports Center, in an area of 18.000 sq.m.

The total length of the building is 108m, while the width is 45m and the highest point reaches 26.5m. The covered area is 5.090 sq.m. and the total area of the building is 26.600 sq.m. on 9 floors. The total cost of the complex was drachmas (41 mil €).

The style of the building is a reference to the architectural culture of Thessaloniki. It comprises memories of its byzantine past and European character. There are also plans for the construction of a second smaller building, suitable for a museum of music, smaller concerts and conferences.

The main hall has 1464 seats and is suitable for concerts, ballet, theater, opera and several other cultural activities.

The Concert Hall started its operations during the May of 2001.


Athens Concert Hall - [Athens]

The Athens Concert Hall, which was completed after 37 years of effort, is the foremost event in the musical history of the country. Its value as a building is considerably less, as despite its luxury and advanced technology, it is not an inspired building.

The main reason is something, that has to do with the Greek society, and that is the downgraded role of architects in the design and supervision of public buildings. The name of the architect is not viewed as a main part of the identity of the building. For those reasons the architect is most usually not known. The Athens Concert Hall, (or the Megaron, as the Greeks call it), is not an exception to this rule.

The effort to build this Hall started in 1954 on the initiative of the famous mezzo-soprano Alexandra Trianti and with the financial support of the politician L. Eftaxias. Its foundation, designed by architect Emmanuel Vourekas, was laid in 1976 and the construction works, which were financed by the "Friends of Music" society, ceased in 1979 when the concrete frame was completed. The work continued later with state funding and with the support of the Minister of Culture Melina Mercouri. The final phase was completed in 1987-91 on the initiative of the art-loving publisher Christos Lambrakis and contributions from many sponsors.

The luxury of its interiors and its high-tech equipment are the most characteristic features of the building. It has two concert halls, a large one with a capacity of 2000 spectators and the small one with a capacity of 500. The large hall, initially designed for symphony concerts, was redesigned to make it adaptable to other performances, such as opera, theatre productions and conference events. It is built of movable wood-panelled vertical sections which, when withdrawn, can increase the stage area, according to the demands of each performance. The large hall is equipped with sophisticated audio-visual systems and is famed for its flawless acoustics.

The small hall in the basement has similar features and audio-visual perfection. The foyer of the large hall is two storeys high, and in the basement there is a luxury restaurant and a shop that sells recorded music and books. The Athens Concert Hall also houses a music library, musical research centre, administration and office areas, dressing rooms and many auxiliary areas.
The rectangular volume of the building, the colonnade on the façade with its heavy twin piers, the sheeting of the exterior with white Pentelic marble and the large windows express the effort to reinterpret neoclassical models by using modern means of expression.


"Office Building Complex" - Kifissia - [Athens]

This building complex is an impressive synthesis by architects Vassilis Baskozos and Dimitra Tsangaraki, designed in a mildly deconstructive spirit. The 3 storey complex consists of three buildings that create 2 main volumes. Those were placed in the perimeter of the building block and a square was created in the center.

The two architects made inventive use of the triangular shape of the lot to erect three buildings one of which was intended to house the construction company that owned it, and the other two for commercial exploitation, with the capability of functioning either separately or as a whole.

On plan, the buildings are organized on a grid that permits flexibility in the positioning of the interior divisions. The faces are treated with the use of large glass panels and metallic shading structures in various forms on the east and south side, while the west side is solid bare concrete with fewer openings.

Owing to the bright colours and the combination of curved and straight features, this office complex has a remarkable plasticity.

The building complex offers beautiful views during the night.


Alpha Bank Administration Building - [Athens]

The postmodern administration building of the Alpha Credit Bank (now called the Alpha Bank) constitutes an architectural milestone in the heart of Athens. The while marble-faced elevations and the classicising line, the two-storey arcade and elegant proportions renewed the urban architectural tradition of the Greek capital, harmonising elements of Italian neo-rationalism with the mild character of Athenian neo-classicism. This monumental building expresses the prestige of the pioneering bank that owns it and blends harmoniously into its historic environment.

The study was assigned to architect Nicos Valsamakis after he had received first prize in a competition by invitation in 1978. It was drawn up early in the 1980s, with the collaboration of the Bank’s architect Kostas Manouilidis, and built in two stages between 1985 and 1991.
The distribution of functions between the floors is as follows: The main public areas are laid out on four levels, on the first basement and three overlying floors, around an atrium with a glass ceiling which looks out over the outdoor area.

The layout permits both the visual unification of the three levels as well as their natural lighting. The administrative functions are housed on the other six floors, i.e. between the fourth and the ninth, in what are usually unified areas divided by light mobile partitions and furnishings. The safety deposit boxes are in the fourth basement and in the other two basements are the electrical and mechanical installations, storerooms and archives.

"National Bank of Greece" Headquarters - [Athens]

The National Bank of Greece (NBG) administration building is among the most ambitious prestige structures to be built in Athens at the dawn of the 21st century. Located in the historic centre of Athens with its strong neoclassical memories, the building occupies the corner of a significant block which includes heritage structures such as the neoclassical NBG building and the academic Athens Stock Exchange. Opposite are the eclectic Melas Building (1887, E. Ziller architect), which has been converted into the NBG’s cultural centre, and the classical modern building of the Commercial Bank of Greece.

The transparency theme led also to the creation of a grand interior void in order to accentuate the public character of the building and spatial readability.

Important findings of classical antiquity on site, registered buildings surrounding it on all sides, a complex brief and tight time-limits made this a rather demanding architectural problem. On January 1999 archaeological findings on site were re-evaluated. The original project was changed to accommodate for high transparency on the ground level to make ancient Acharniki Street visible as it crosses on the longitudinal axis the building towards Kotzia Square .

he building, with the perspective of Acropolis at the end of Eolou street , completes the corner of an important building block of the historic centre of Athens . It comprises of a basic volume, parts of which are subtracted in such a way as to maintain the readability of the primary volume. Its main elevation on Eolou street is in dialogue with the neighboring neoclassical Main Building , while the other two elevations are treated as secondary.

The building accommodates the significant activities of the Bank administration, and has a total area of 6500m2. On the first and second floor is the general assembly hall with a capacity of 400 persons, fully equipped with the most advanced audiovisual system. On the third floor are the offices of the bank’s vice-governors, and on the fourth the offices of the advisers to the vice-governors. The fifth floor houses the dining room for the Bank’s senior executives as well as areas for the library, lounge and guest quarters. On the four underground levels there are areas for parking, the machine room and storage.

Great weight has been given to the chromatic combination of the luxurious materials on the building: the exterior and interior wall facings of sand-coloured poros stone, black unpolished granite on the floors and light-coloured wood panelling on ceilings and walls. The poros stone on the façades is divided into horizontal zones that will, according to the play of light and shadow, be more or less visible.

The design by architects E. Sakellaridou, M. Papanikolaou, and M. Pollani, who had a consultant the famous Swiss-Italian architect Mario Botta, received first prize in an open architectural competition.

"AVAX S.A." Headquarters - [Athens]

The office building of the construction company AVAX S.A. is one of the most sophisticated applications of Bio-climatic design principles in Athens. With the implementation of these principles, the architects sought to cover the building’s energy needs, to create a comfortable environment for its users, and to express the dynamism of the construction company.

It is situated in the center of Athens on the east-facing slope of Lycabettus hill. It comprises of three basement levels, ground floor and five levels above ground with a total of 2,950m2.

The forefront is dominated by 5 concrete columns with a height of 16 meters, that characterize the structure of the building along with the sunshades. Those are vertical glass draperies, with a shadow index of 70%. The draperies are controlled by the central system of energy management so as to rotate autonomously, according to temperature and light radiation.

All the main spaces are along the glass facade and are separated by the secondary ones with a traffic zone. Furthermore, inside the building there are openings, for natural ventilation. In the underground floor there are ice-buckets, that store "cooling" energy out of rush hours. The total consumption of energy is approximately 50% of a conventional building.

The building was finished in 1998, with a total construction cost of drachmas (3.5 million €). The architect is the legendary Alexandros Tombazis.



Friday, January 12, 2007

Foundation for Biomedical Research - [Athens]

IIBEA - Ίδρυμα ΙατροΒιολογικών Ερευνών Ακαδημίας Αθηνών
Foundation for Biomedical Research of the Athens Academy

The foundation conducts research in the main areas of Biology and Medicine at the molecular, biochemical and cellular level.

Located in the center of Athens, IIBEAA's building facilities cover a surface of 25.000 square meters, built on an area of 19.000 sq.m. provided by the University of Athens.

The building consists of the following units:

Section 1: Center for Clinical Research
Section 2: Basic Research Centre
Section 3: Administration and Library Tower
Section 4: Academy of Athens Services
Section 5: Underground Parking Lot

The central square is designed to be the reference point of the building complex. In order to implement this, appropriate lines were drawn that interconnect the different sections, archways, green sectors and a water element that reflects the administration department.

Vehicles are moving circumferentially and with platforms of vertical movement.

The building is constructed using reinforced concrete and the facade consists of visible concrete, white marble and rigid aluminum.

The architect is A.M. Kotsiopoulos, a professor of architecture in the University of Thessaloniki, famous for designing a vast number of Greek Universities and public buildings. The total construction cost was 15.000.000 €. Τhe construction started at 1997 and ended at 2002.