Situated in the southern suburbs of Athens at the entrance to the Athenian Riviera, this five-unit seafront apartment building was designed by SAOTA. With interior architecture by ARRCC, it has stunning views of Aegina and Poros’ hills in the distance as well as Hymettus Mountain rising behind it.
The building is situated on a corner frontline of the promenade with a lovely view of one of the local beaches. It houses four apartments that are located on both sides of a triple-volume arrival hall. This access provides landscaped gardens that have twin swimming pools in the front designs. A double-level penthouse also spans across the width of the podium but it is set back from where the edifice ends.
The front of the building is designed with expansive glazing, recessed columns, and moveable screens that moderate the bright maritime light and provide privacy. The rear of the building presents a solid facade with puncture openings to shelter itself from its neighbors.
The facade design is characterized by the play of horizontal and vertical planes. The crisp white finishes and almost classically symmetrical proportions of the building reflect a contemporary architectural approach rooted in the climatically appropriate local Mediterranean tradition but expressed in a language of timeless minimalism. The penthouse has a minimalistic interior with simplified plains and voids. Please read more below. Full credits can be found at the end of the article.
The client wanted an apartment that could be easily transformed to accommodate both large social gatherings and more intimate moments. They also needed a gallery-like space in order to showcase artworks and other treasured items.
The penthouse is organized around a central, large volume that serves as the main living space and gallery. Its size was chosen to take advantage of the views, while double-volume motorized glass sliding doors and moveable screens can be tucked away into the walls, making it hard to tell where the inside ends and the outside begins.
A minimal number of shapes with large dimensions are placed around a central shape, while the expansive horizontal spaces create a feeling of lightness in the overall design. The living areas embody a skilled interaction between different solid and unsubstantial elements, where planes overlay and borrow space from one another to form connection and continuity while still providing definitions for various functions.
The lounge and dining areas are situated on either side of the room to create more intimate social spaces. The kitchen is located behind the dining area, with an option to have it screened off. An extra family room or spare bedroom is positioned behind the lounge on the other side.
All bedrooms are situated on both sides of the double level upstairs. Sliding door panels set into the cavity walls make it possible to open up the upper level so that it can be one large, uninterrupted space – but they can also be closed for privacy.
The interior of the penthouse and its terrace feature a pared-back, refined approach. To reduce visual noise and simplify things, the architects avoided fussy details.
The use of natural materials like timber and stone is carried through to the interior, where they are combined with white elements and accented with bronze-colored details. The horizontal and vertical planes that are characteristic of the exterior architecture continue into the interior, where walls, screens, cupboards, and ceilings are also simplified into clean lines. Seamless cabinetry, uninterrupted ceiling surfaces, and large sandstone floor tiles create a feeling of spaciousness and simplicity.
The interior opens up to a terrace that goes around the entire house, and it is sheltered by a roof that looks like it’s floating. The terrace has a pool where the edge is even with the floor made out of sandstone. There are single-column pergolas in symmetry on both sides of the shelter that provide shade for outdoor dining, seating, and entertainment near the pool. The screens wrapped around the aim to have just enough privacy while also managing views and climate control with adjustable louvers depending on what you want to be blocked off or not. Lastly, at the front, there are glass banisters so nothing interrupts your view of Front Street/the ocean beyond
The approach to architecture and interior design is both rigorous and disciplined, which not only enhances the clarity of the volumes but also creates a sense of sophistication throughout. The restrained palette and subtle shades make for an understated minimalist environment; one in which its inhabitants can truly feel free.
Project Name: Glyfada
Project Location: Athens, Greece
Lead Designers: SAOTA
SAOTA Project Team: Stefan Antoni, Philip Olmesdahl, Bobby Hugill, Albert van Jaarsveld & Serena Slamdien
Interior Designer: ARRCC
ARRCC Project Team: Michele Rhoda, Daniel Du Toit, Jeandre Toua
Architect of Record: Free Architects/Christina Poulmenti
Civil Engineer: Iannis Konstas Engineers/Iannis Konstas
Structural Engineer: Iannis Konstas Engineers/Iannis Konstas
Electrical Engineer: SKV Consulting Engineers/Stefanos Karagianis
Geotechnical Engineers: Sotiropoulos & Associates/Mr. Sotiropoulos
Photographer: Vangelis Paterakis & Panagiotis Voumvakis