hortus conclusus: proposal for administration building encloses garden sanctuary in elefsina, greece

hortus conclusus: proposal for administration building encloses garden sanctuary in elefsina, greece

leonidas papalampropoulos and georgia syriopoulou adopt the typology of an enclosed garden, hortus conclusus, in their proposal for a new administration building in the city of elefsina, greece. the project reformulates the topology of the existing vegetation in order to define an internal landscape, which acts as a sanctuary for rest, meditation and memory amidst undefined boundaries, vague spaces and fragmented public spaces in the junction of the city with the industrial area. a new social space is offered to the citizens within the building for the reinforcement of local identity.

interior view of the entrance to the garden



acting as a spatial metaphor of paradise, the preservation of the site’s topography creates a symbolic connection with the mythology of the surrounding meadow, where it is said that hades, the god of the underworld, kidnapped persephone, the daughter of agriculture goddess demeter. papalampropoulos and syriopoulou‘s proposal focuses on three main axes: the preservation of the spatial qualities and inherent atmosphere of the place; the creation of a new ‘urban artifact’ with which to reassemble the dispersed public space of the city; and, the expression of the historic memory of elefsina through the gesture of enclosure, signifying spatially the symbolic transition into the space of ‘the other’, and the contrasting scales of various urban elements as an outcome of the coexisting fragments from the city’s past.

the exhibition space and the cafe



the gesture of enclosure in hortus conclusus shapes the building as a landmark within the urban scale with a robust visual identity. at the same time, the manipulation of the skin and the allocation of functions address the scale of the adjacent neighborhood and the pedestrian experience, with facades that act as semi-transparent filters and allow views of the micro-scale inside the building. two ramps on the external sides of the building cut through its mass and allow for public access to the garden, which can function both independently and in conjunction with the office spaces, thus becoming a meeting space for the visitors and the employees alike. the main entrance to the administration building is signified as a recession of the mass that welcomes the visitor with a view of the green surroundings, providing access to the office spaces, the public functions (auditorium, exhibitions, café) and the garden itself.

the main entrance

the offices wing

view of the open air amphitheater in the garden

overview of hortus conclusus

within the urban scale





concept diagram



project info:


architect: leonidas papalampropoulos, georgia syriopoulou

team: tsampika manou, yiannis aivatzidis

total area: 11,000 sq.m

main use: administration building of the region of attica, greece

location: elefsina, greece

status: distinction in architectural competition



designboom has received this project from our ‘DIY submissions‘ feature, where we welcome our readers to submit their own work for publication. see more project submissions from our readers here.


edited by: sofia lekka angelopoulou | designboom

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