The present thesis began as a product of research, on the sustainability issues of the city, both in sociological and urban level as much as in environmental level.
The built space is a direct expression of the beliefs and institutions of a society. Athens is a classic example of a megacity which suffers from social and environmental problems. The Athenian apartment building is the main building unit of the city, thus designing a residential complex is a potential planning of the city. Obviously the study of a residential building does not solve the problem. Nonetheless, is attempted a critical commentary on how to build a city. The design is consciously opposed in many points to the General Building Regulation while the life scenario and the materials suggested are also not the usual ones. Of course this does not mean that urban voids should be filled with apartment buildings, on the contrary, it is firstly important to demolish where needed and reuse where possible.
Main axis for the synthesis was the idea that a residence, is not just a habitation machine, but primarily a "life pot". There is an unbreakable continuity from the collective (city-society), to the individual (person-room). The concept of the city is contained in the concept of neighborhood, the building, the dwelling and the room and vice versa.
The site is located in Kesariani, an area of great contrast, where clay shelters, from the Mid War era, coexist with multi-storey apartment buildings, from the building boom of the ‘90s.
The composition is structured on the idea of cohabitation and partial autonomy of personal space. At the core is the central staircase that acts as a greenhouse, around of which, there are developed three large residences with individual bedrooms and two small ones for couples.
From the beginning a plot at the section is attempted and a fluid usage of space. Double height living rooms are connected with the kitchen, dining room and semi outdoor spaces. On the 7th floor a communal hall is placed while in the base there are a communal gym and a workshop. The yard is formed by levels following the natural slope leaving the possibility for a future integration with the adjacent vacant.
The building follows the triptych base, main body, coronation. The basis is a concrete box underground. The main body is delimited by two vertical surfaces and among them smaller volumes -boxes create a game of recesses and projections while diagonal external movements "break" the monotony of horizontal lines -ownerships. The roof completes the composition as a crown and acts as an "umbrella" for the hot summer months.
A main target of the thesis was the integration of natural building techniques in the urbanscape. Each structural material follows a life cycle. The choice of materials is not only about the advantages over the use or the construction, other factors are entering in consideration, such as, cost, hygi- ene and environmental friendliness. Natural materials such as stone, wood, clay, straw, have low embodied energy, are friendly to humans and recyclable.
The building system that has been proposed is a combination of CLT panels (Cross Laminated Timber), glulam and simple sawn timber components. The filling of the external walls are made of compressed straw panels at the exterior part, and clay in the interior, with the technique of lath- -and-plaster wall. Timber provides strength and easy assembly to the structure while clay assists in multiple ways due to his high thermal mass, toxin absorbance and breathability.