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    Housing project in Metaxourgeio
Housing project in Metaxourgeio
project: Housing project in Metaxourgeio
location: athens
date: june 2009 - september 2009
size: 450 m²
state: on drawing board
client: undisclosed
architects: alex vandoros / sandra kalliagra / kleopatra psarrou
Project description and vision rationale
Location of the building
The area where the plot is placed is characterized as a residential neighborhood with pedestrian walks. The specific area has many peculiarities, regarding it’s very small size and it’s narrow façade to the main street. The housing project is obliged to be in touch with the adjacent building sites (leaving 10cm seismic joint). The building touches the main street boundary and is detached much more than 4,55m form the back boundary in order to create a future flat and united main façade with the adjacent buildings and a future free green space at the back (keeping in mind the viral character within the urban tissue and sprawl into nearby empty lots).
In order to create a financially viable building for the employer we used the total amount of Gross Building Area that is permitted at the specific plot, creating also two double height spaces (first floor – above the ground floor – and third floor – taking advantage of the 2meter legal rooftop) with inner mezzanine structures for the sleeping areas.
At the ground there are two apartments (one single and one double) for three students, at the first floor there are three double height apartments (all double) for six students, at the second there are two apartments (one double, one double with separate rooms) for four students and the third floor three double height apartments (one single and two double) for five students. Totally eighteen students are accommodated as the competition programme asked for.
One basement is proposed, accessible from the elevator and main staircase. Mechanical equipment and storage rooms are placed at the basement. Parking spaces cannot be placed due to the minimum dimensions of the plot, so parking will be accommodated within the 800meter perimeter that is provided by the law.
Concept - sustainability
The concept is to create a sustainable building, giving all the inhabitants a high quality of living despite the tiny dimensions of the structure. It is obvious that the ‘shelter’ housing unit type is chosen in order to achieve the above amalgamation of self-sufficient units.
Taking advantage of the constraints of the site and its context the central motion core (lift – 1,50X1,70m- and staircase -1,20m step-  as the building regulation and disabled student accommodation require) is placed approximately at the middle of the north side of the building. This way all the apartments face either at the west or the east side of the building having full natural light which is very important for the living conditions and the bioclimatic use that is proposed.
Attached to the central core, at the east side of the metal staircase an atrium – lightwell for the staircase is placed. At the ground floor the atrium is planted in order to create a bioclimatic microclimate inside the building. Natural air and light are provided through the atrium at the central core and the eastern apartments (using opaque hinged glassblocks) so that the primary use living spaces can be naturally ventilated.
The north and west facades are compact due to the building regulations. The east and west facades have concrete balconies with aluminum adjustable slats placed at the edges in order to protect the apartments from the direct sunlight at summer and conversely at winter. At the first and second floor semi-open spaces are placed at the west façade so that a viable sitting space can be created together with the balconies which are very narrow due to the building regulations. This way the bioclimatic use of the building is enforced and important every day open air spaces are created. At the east façade the balconies are very wide, so that the inhabitants can also have such kind of open air spaces that are protected with adjustable slats.
At the rooftop a two-sided irregular reclined roof (due to the notional solid) is created which is open at the atrium (with a pergola above). Rooftop windows are placed in order to daylight the third floor double height apartments and naturally ventilate them. At the rest of the reclined roof, as well as at the top of the metallic lodges at both facades, photovoltaic panels are placed so that the building can be energetically autonomous at a great percentage.
Structure – Building cost
The building frame is reinforced concrete, as most structures in Greece, in order to achieve the lower building cost for this part of the structure. The materials that are used for the coverings are environmentally friendly and low cost. Generally the construction budget will not exceed €1200 per primary buildable m2 and €850 per secondary m2.
Viral typology and façade elements
The back yard is planted in order to reinforce the microclimate of the area, which is really abandoned and is accessed by all inhabitants through the atrium and the communal semi open space at the east side.
The plantation will be continued at the back yards of the adjacent employer’s plots so that a green zone where inhabitants can use daily and a viable microclimate can be created.
The main façade (west at Marathonos St.) has a linear typology, using concrete elements for the balconies and their parapets, aluminum adjustable slats joining the parapets with the upper slabs creating permeable masses, and wooden cladding at the wall coverings beside the balconies. This kind of linearity (following the building regulations that allow very narrow projections above the pavements) is the key to create a united façade typology that can be used at the adjacent and opposite plots which will provide an equable building community with sustainable characteristics, modern elements that are compatible with the Greek morphology and the greater area of Kerameikos district.
Creating viable living spaces for 18 students inside a sustainable building at the specific site is a very complex project. The apartments that are created contain all the necessary primary and secondary spaces (bathroom, kitchen, living room and independent sleeping place) at a harmonic conjunction giving the inhabitants viable and high quality living conditions inside minimum dimensions. 
Presentation boards of the project
Final plans and sections of the project