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This is a building designed for a small plot in downtown Athens, opposite St.Irini church on Aiolou St. The building program consists of seminar and digital editing rooms, dark rooms, library, exhibition space and a café.

The main concept is an ascending spiral route from light to shadow with final destination the “dark room”, where photography first started.

Via a narrow dramatic cut on the building’s concrete façade one can enter the spacious central courtyard surrounded by tall glass facades. Light, main tool of photography and architecture alike, leads the visitor to ascend from the full of light entrance areas, to the bright temporary exhibition space, then to the seminar rooms which lead to the low light digital editing area before finally reaching the “dark rooms”. This movement thread matches the (reverse) chronological evolution of this art: the more one walks into the building, the more one comes closer to the highest and most intricate to reach space: the dark room, where it all begun.

The building’s design is based on the principle that this is a construction for an art of opposites: light and shadow, black and white. Based on this, the design wish was for the idea to work the other way around too:

a small dark room, placed high above all else, generates a spiral path which descends around a central courtyard ever brighter until it reaches the building’s entrance and it sheds upon the street.

Project for Metsovion Polytechnion of Athens - Tutor: V.Ganiatsas - In collaboration with: L. Dima - Pics from personal archive


Construction Design based upon the Design by Arata Isozaki & Associates

The Construction Design (participation as collaborator of Ergon Meletitiki) took place aiming not only to design the details of the building itself but to adapt the Japanese architectural firm’s design in the Greek construction habits as well. As is common, the architects coordinated all the designs of the various engineers’ disciplines (in detail at the bottom of this page: Building Μ2, unfortunately available only in Greek). The construction of the concrete frame of the building and the Construction Design evolved in parallel. As a result, the construction designs changed according to factors emerging from the construction of the building, the needs of special design teams (stage design or acoustics). The result was a series of Architectural Detail Designs of various scales: floors, suspended ceilings, walls, lightening, insulation, circulation, food and garbage routes, windows, doors, glazing, rain water slopes, equipment, main hall, bathrooms, kitchen, translator’s cubicles, railings etc.

Client: Ergon Meletitiki – Built pics after construction from tch.gr and schema4.gr who worked on the Design and the building permit paperwork along with the office of Arata Isozaki, blueprints and construction site pics from personal archive

Concept, Design

The building is situated on an odd plot: on the one side there is the sea and on the other (back) side there is a 20m high retaining wall with a road on top. The design evolves around two elements: the ramp and the prism. The ramp is a building with a wide sloping roof which connects the two city levels bridging the 20m height difference between them. The sloping roof, which works in that way as a pedestrian walkway – ramp, houses all the non-art needs: the administration offices, storage areas, lecture theater, café and shop. It unravels itself along the retaining wall and around the second element: the prism.

The second element, the prism, is a translucent glass cube like a precious crystal floating prominently above ground. An objet d’art itself, it houses the exhibition spaces. One can enter only via its the lower floor in a vertical move which resembles emersion.

Project for Metsovion Polytechnion of Athens - Tutor: T. Papaioannou - Blueprints, sketches and pics from personal archive