Retail building in Psychiko, Athens

A multi storey commercial building to be divided into retail shops of various sizes, including a four storey underground car park. All the shops have individual access from the pedestrian promenade along the front of the building, but their size and number of the floors can vary.

The site is located in the commercial centre of an expensive suburb of northern Athens. In addition to maximum exploitation of a very valuable piece of land, key requirements included maximum flexibility with regard to the division of interior space, maximization of shop window surfaces, and special emphasis to a café-restaurant at one end of the long rectangular plot.

Our design had to cope with the integration of the new building into its neighbouring surroundings where typical buildings are one-fifth the size of the proposed new building, while at the same time maintaining compatibility with a large and particular building of a supermarket situated in front of it. Nevertheless, the resulting design had to meet the desire of the investor to make a bold statement in the area.

In response to the above, we adopted a simple composition of basic geometrical volumes. The long rectangular structure was divided into cubes that match the scale of the neighbourhood buildings. At the same time, the large glass window of the main facade, favoured for its northern exposure, stretches the length of the building to emphasize the size and unity of the whole. An equally large perforated inox curtain wall shades the south façade, while hiding the long exterior fire exit walkways, and the m/e installation racks located at the back of the building.

This interplay between division and continuity holds a key role in accommodating the versatility required. In conjunction with a flexible m/e installation design, this dual design allows freedom to cut the interior – and the front façade window – into shops of various shapes and sizes.

The café-restaurant was designed as a distinctive building. With a composition that merges in style with the cube design elements of the main building, the café-restaurant acts as a link between the large commercial building and the smaller neighbouring structures.

The carbon black colour of the façade panels serves as a neutral frame for the colourful contents of the commercial windows.