Panaghias Marmariotissis 16, 15232 Athens, Greece
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ATHENS - first prize
The Belgian Embassy in Athens is housed in the three lower levels of a prestigious, late 1960’s apartment building. The proposed scheme aims at creating a ‘Storefront’ for Belgium in the centre of Athens. The new façade is open, transparent, interactive, as well as protective. Behind the full height, clear structural glazing with its stainless steel foldable protective screen, a LED lighting strip negotiates the transition between the outside and the inside. During after hours, the illuminated façade will mark the embassy’s presence and literally render the arcade with the colours of Belgium. Technically, the entire glazing is designed to withstand acts of vandalism and security threats. The proposed reorganisation of the interiors aims at creating a welcoming, open, well defined public space to flexibly cater for various events and uses. The main elements of the proposed plan are: the front entrance area -the Vestibule- which is intended as a multifunctional public space, the second threshold, the ‘grey box’ incorporating the space for the Receptionist’s Office and the Security Portal, and the staircase area with the lift lobby. The materials have been selected for their quality, durability, performance and elegance and their list is purposely limited: White Dionysos marble for the flooring with reference to the existing. Grey ‘Eternit’ panels for the Receptionist Area and the Security Portal, for its crispness, lightness, ready-made quality and easy assembly. Clear bullet proof glazing, for security reasons and stainless steel finishes for the architectural ironmongery for their elegance, durability and material expression.