Greek studio Georges Batzios Architects has revived a brutalist office in the suburbs of Athens.
Restoring its damaged concrete shell and reconfiguring its interiors was the main goal.
The building, described by the studio as a rare example of brutalist architecture in the country, was built in a pine tree forest in the 1970s by notable Greek architect Alexandros Tombazis.
Georges Batzios Architects was invited to give the office a new lease of life by its new owners, who saved it from demolition after it was painted over in yellow and abandoned by former occupants.
“The current owner expressed her deep respect for the building as a historical figure of the city and its contrast with the surrounding pine tree forest,” explained the studio’s founder, Georges Batzios.
“She also expressed her sadness about the deteriorating image of the old building that was getting worse every passing day, due to the fact that the whole office was painted in a beige-yellow colour that distorted its original brutalist identity,” he told.
According to Batzios, the overhaul was “a moral challenge,” as his studio wanted to put its own stamp on the building but did not want to alter its image or undermine Tombazis‘ original design.
It compromised with a sensitive restoration of the old office‘s exterior, but a bolder internal overhaul and reconfiguration to modernise its circulation, workspaces and decor.
“The revival of the existing historic building was a moral challenge for us, particularly in terms of what the extent of our architectural proposal, on the existing structure, would be,” Batzios explained.
“Therefore, our first intervention concerned the restoration of the visible concrete elements of the old office, 40,000 square metres, to its original architectural finish,” the architect said.
“However, within the building’s interior, our goal was not to reduce our design down to a faithful reconstruction, back to its original form.”
The repair of the exterior was carried out in two phases, beginning with an examination and repair of any damage of the office, to the reinforced concrete structure.
Next, the studio removed the yellow paint and repaired its heavily damaged surfaces. This involved chemically analysing the original concrete surfaces to develop a matching “cement-based skin“.
Two geometric pavilions were built at the office‘s entrance to evoke “detached pieces of the main building” while the surrounding landscape was redesigned.
The landscaping, carried out in collaboration with landscape architect Helli Pangalou, involved restoring the site’s original pine tree forest and introducing several paths, running tracks and benches.
A large, open lawn has also been introduced to provide “a clean foreground to the building that brings out all its scale and brutalist features”.