The aim of this project was to split an apartment block into three independent flats, to house three families: a two-storey ground floor flat, a first floor flat and a top floor, two-storey flat.

Instead of knocking down the existing house, architects Dora Balnta and Nelly Marda decided early on to use its basic structure, on environmental and financial grounds. The layout of the flats offers simultaneous views of the Hymettus Mountain and the adjacent green space (for the ground floor-first floor flats) and of the city of Athens (for the second floor flat). The big slope of the site on the southeast-northwest axis allows for the ground floor flat to develop into two floors. Both floors have access to the garden.

The design of the addition follows special technical specifications. The initial building was knocked down revealing its structure, which was then reinforced internally using gunite. Externally it is ‘enveloped’ with concrete beams and columns. In that way, the house extends into two additional floors. The main staircase, lift and roof are self-supporting metal structures; being lighter than the concrete structure, they provide space to the flats and to the pre-existing mature cedar tree in the northeast corner of the site.

The southeast main elevation is defined by a bioclimatic panel that covers and shades the central staircase. The cedar tree, the three balconies and the top shelter shadow the southeast elevation during warm summer months. The solar panels on the southeast shelter are mainly used for the provision of hot water throughout the year.

Images © Erietta Attali, Dora Balnta