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Meteorite Unit

Meteorite Unit

Restoration of a scheduled building and erection of a three-storey annexe in 58 Leonidou St, Metaxourgeio, Athens.

A new metallic construction levitates over a small terrain in Athens in order to propose a micro-transformation of the public space: part of the designed ground floor functions now as a small city square. The scheduled building is placed in an old small house complex. More than the half of it is destroyed; the project deals with an elaboration of the remain and the new metallic addition on Leonidou St in Athens, Kerameikos-Metaxourgeio.

The houses of the period were organised around a courtyard. One can find the specific typology in Aris Constantinidis's study 'The Old Houses of Athens' (in Greek - Athens 1950). Constantinidis, an interesting Greek architect honored by Frampton and Leatherbarrow, was particularly interested in the architectural constitution of the interior courtyards included in these small house complexes and was not intersted in their neo-Classical components, which he systematically passed over in silence. The scheduled building restores a part of some lost unitary whole. A basic endeavour of the present design has been to highlight the existing neoclasical section (from one side) and to reinterpret the vernacular neo-Classical composition, at the same time adapting it to the present condition.

A reading of the specific urban convention is of particular importance. A six-storey building has been erected next to the scheduled one. The absence of the specific part of the whole composition gives an opportunity for some contemporary extension of the neo-Classical part; the extension would reschedule the ensemble and its courtyard under a different light; the new section elaborates some principles of the old complex, but now undertakes the significant function of transferring the old urban convention to the new, of the remain’s transfer to a contemporary urban proposal. The 'meteorite unit' takes shape as a metal structure. The elevation of the annexe on Leonidou St is organised by the use of a metal 'canvas' which is filled in with ready-made grid-like surfaces. These surfaces are formed by grids used in mechanological installations. They are suspended on a metal frame, thus constructing a visual filter through a controlled variety of motifs. The rear elevation of the meteorite unit, towards the scheduled building, is covered by plate glass, thus turning the new building towards the courtyard. The suspension convention of the proposed unit produces a desirable extension of the public space: the conditions of the area require an increase in the percentage of public space and for this reason it was decided to cede a private area to the city. At ground-floor level transparency is the chosen result after the elaboration of the public space.

Architect: Aristide Antonas
Civil engineer: Christos Kaklamanis
Collaborator architect: Katerina Koutsogianni

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