Showroom and Office Building, Glifada
Design study | August 2004 – September 2004
Construction | December 2004 - December 2005
The building was designed to host the offices and showroom of a fashion agency. It consists of a basement, the entrance level and three floors. The lot is 275,00 sq.m., rectangular in shape and located in a street with low vehicle traffic.
The client's requirement was to create two separate and distinct functional units, an office space and a showroom area. This space was to be divided by a ratio of 1:5 between the office and the showroom. The ratio was deemed appropriate given that the offices are used throughout the year whilst the showroom is only used for five months a year during spring and autumn. Furthermore, the client required that the showroom be designed as a flexible open-plan space that could be easily altered for different seasonal needs as well as providing maximum natural light while limiting exposure to direct sunlight. The last, and perhaps most important, demand of the client was to design and construct the building within a period of fifteen months. This led to specific decisions concerning the concept and the materials to be used during the design and construction process.
The cornerstone of the architectural synthesis was the creation of an initially compact volume, whose borders and composition would be redefined as the building reaches the earth and the sky, where the semi-open spaces are situated. It was the architects’ intention to retain the impression of the whole, even though the building represents the form of “basis body ridge” model. The ground floor and the office level constitute the “basis” and “ridge”. The entrance's semi-open space and the third level's veranda (which is almost covered by a pergola of reinforced cast-in-place concrete) allow for the exterior to interact with the interior. In addition, the director's office, located on the third level, has extended glass surfaces that ensure an inspiring view of the city while enhancing overall productivity and facilitating extended stays in the office. The first and the second level constitute the “body”. Here, the purpose is to create a relative isolation from potential external interruptions during the work process. These spaces, housed on the two intermediate levels, are used seasonally and during specific periods where the clients and their customers are heavily concentrated on their work tasks.
The communal spaces of vertical communication, staircase and elevator, take up a part of the building that gradually detaches itself from the main volume. It covers most of the north façade and functions as a space of relaxation between the intermediate levels (of seasonal use) since it allows for visual contact with the exterior. This façade is covered by a double skin of translucent channel glass (U-glass) that diffuses light during the day and gives the building an airy feeling in contrast to the density of the overall concrete construction.
The choice of materials was conditioned partly by the building's functionality and partly by our preference for a plain form. The latter refers not only to the design aspects but also to the use of limited and pure materials that emphasize the building's structure. The rough and “strict” appearance of the reinforced cast-in-place concrete in addition to the clarity of the glass (in its various forms) complete the image of the inner and outer space. The materials are used in their natural colour so that the concrete grey and the pale green of the U-glass can highlight the colourfull exhibited clothes and create a background for them without, however, directly competing with them.
The building has been published in the annual review of architecture in Greece - 2007, in several greek architectural magazines, has represented Greece in the “Piran days of Architecture – Piranesi Awards 2007” and has been presented in the “5th Biennale of Young Greek Architects” in 2007.
Photos by Vassilis Sarioglou