leonidas papalampropoulos' symbiotic office complex in athens re-organizes public life

leonidas papalampropoulos' symbiotic office complex in athens re-organizes public life

leonidas papalampropoulos’ design proposal attempts to resolve the problematic coexistence of two conflicting functional and spatial unities that result from the allocation of the management headquarters and central services of the public power company — P.P.C. — in three building blocks within the residential area of palaio faliro, athens. the proposal relies on the biological term of symbiosis – συμβίωσις — and especially the notion of mutualism, according to which two dissimilar organisms during their long-term biological engagement develop a mutually beneficial relationship.

the main square — the heart of the public power company complex



on this basis, greek based architectural bureau leonidas papalampropoulos‘ design proposes the creation of a symbiotic social and urban ecosystem in which the P.P.C. shares its public functions with the community in a way that can prove beneficial for both sides. in this way, the new headquarters of the P.P.C. present an opportunity for the realization of something bigger than an office complex: they can form the framework of the re-organization of the public life of palairo faliro and render the P.P.C. a paradigm of social corporate responsibility and its headquarters a contemporary company campus.

the courtyard of the café facing the building of the former hydroelectric station dating from 1905



the proposal views the two different programs, the museum function of the preserved buildings of the former hydroelectric station and the office function of the new buildings, as an expanded program for the social re-organization of the neighborhood. the office functions are enriched with entertainment, sport and cultural activities that are shared with the community. the core of the project is the central square, that is formed in front of the preserved buildings of the former hydroelectric station.

complex A — the entrance lobby of the administration building



the new building mass recesses from the site boundary and engulfs the public life of the complex and the neighborhood. the functions are subsequently distributed in three unities through a system of ‘enclosures-rooms’ that adapts the large scale of the complex to the scale of the neighborhood. there are three new building masses — A, B and C — that host the office spaces. the preserved buildings, apart from their museum function, are proposed to host a municipal swimming pool, a theater, a community center and an exhibition space in order to encourage their use as part of the daily life of the employees and the locals.

complex A — the relaxation zone in the administration ground floor



the structural system and the materiality of leonidas papalampropoulos’ design focuses on three major aspects. first, the relation to the preserved buildings. the entire complex of new buildings is clad in a system of pre-fabricated perforated ceramic blocks which creates a unified impression that functions as a canvas highlighting the old buildings while simultaneously it defines a strong visual corporate identity for the headquarters of the P.P.C. second, the relation to the public space around them. the visual permeability of the screen walls is friendly towards the public spaces surrounding the buildings and the experience of the pedestrians on street level. the diversification of the density of the blocks can create a variety of visual relations between inside-outside.

complex B — the circulation space in the information technology department



the third major aspect is the sustainable function of the of the buildings. the screen walls consist of an effective means of controlling the direct solar radiation with a high level of adaptability according to the orientation and the shading needs. it filters the light and prevents the over-heating of the glass panels and the glare. the components of the screen walls incorporate a system of embedded micro-tubes that circulate water. the roofs incorporate two types of PV cells for energy generation which also function as shading elements. finally, leonidas papalampropoulos’ ‘symbiosis’ proposal uses heat exchangers to regain the excess heat from the air-conditioning systems in winter which in turn exploits to heat the water of the swimming pool.

the design exploits the site by dispersing the building mass in order to achieve the small scale of the intervention

the perforated enclosures create introvert and extrovert rooms which host the inset masses of the office spaces

master plan

symbiotic social and urban ecosystem in which the P.P.C. shares its public functions with the community

complex A

complex B

complex C



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: apostolos costarangos | designboom

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