The area of study is located at the heart of the metropolitan center and holds a key position, concentrating on the developmental tendencies, dynamics and distortions of a capital city. In fact, the Commercial Triangle brings together a lot and diverse activity of Athens, major business headquarters and bank offices, public buildings and services, as well as a range of commercial uses, from large retail outlets, small and medium sized wholesale stores and retail businesses to small shops and industries.
The “Commercial Triangle” of Athens, is the central area of Athens that is designated by the streets Stadiou, Mitropoleos and Athinas. At the corners of the conceived “triangle” are located the squares of Syntagma, Monastiraki and Omonia. In addition, it encloses the squares of Klaythmonos and Kolokotronis on Stadiou street as well as Kotzia square on Athina street.
Athens could be characterized by the changes that take place at an urban scale, that occur in its commercial center and the variety that emerges in this limited urban area, such as the historic buildings on the central axes of the Commercial Triangle, characterize the space giving it a scale and the the vaccination that they impose. Also important are the large-scale office buildings (“Megara”) that were built mainly in the 1960s, the buildings of banks and large enterprises on the central streets of Stadiou and Athinas as well as a rich network of shops, small and medium-sized enterprises, even industries, within the densely-built web of the Commercial Triangle, on the sidewalks of Ermou, Aiolou, Agiou Markou and Evangelistria and their narrow streets and in galleries on the ground floor of the large office buildings.
Most of the Commercial Triangle is made up of local shops, crafts, laboratories and leisure facilities. Trades and crafts were always in the triangle, as the first market of Athens began. We notice that there are no buildings under construction in this particular area, while buildings without use do not go by unnoticed. Both the economic conditions and the already dense construction of the center are responsible for this. Last but not least, the change in use from the ground floor to the upper floors, which occurs almost everywhere, is interesting. The ground floor is almost always for commercial uses, for a more direct relationship with the client, while on the upper floors we find more often offices, workshops, and sometimes residences.
The commercial triangle is a central transport hub that serves the wider area, but at the same time supplies it commercially, culturally and administratively. Thus, it is hoped that there will be places within it that have stigmatized peoples daily routine but also contributed to the development of the commercial triangle in time both at a cultural and a social - economic level. The galleries are an integral part of Greek architecture. That is why it is of particular interest to keep them in the urban fabric of modern Athens. The existence of galleries in the commercial triangle is evident. Their existence is usually provided by the urban plan of the area and they must be aesthetically connected with the building.
The architectural study focuses on the corner of Stadiou and Aeolou streets. As has already been mentioned on the connection of the two roads was the department store KATRANTZOSPOR, which after an incendiary action in 1980 was completely destroyed leaving another residue in the Greek urban fabric and its situation remained unchanged until today, despite the efforts made to reintegrate it again in the urban plan of the city.
The project site is a point of reference in the city with particular interest as it is located in the center of Athens creating a boundary between its historical center and its wider areas. At the same time, it is located at the end of a building block, raising so concerns how to deal with it, both in terms of the strictness of the structures that govern the area (facades of Stadiou and Aeolou), as well as its use and character towards the city.
Due to the prominent position of the plot and the Construction Regulations the primary objective of our study was to place the main volume of the building at the back of the plot to maintain the visual contact to and from (Stadiou, Aeolou, Em.Menakis and Lykourgos) and its development in height. In addition, our main intention was openness and circulation on the ground floor (linking Lykourgos Street with Em.Menakis Street, connection and continuation of galleries of Stadiou and Aeolou streets) as well as the preservation of the optics in adjacent buildings through the transparency of the proposal.
Another objective that was later proven to be of utmost importance was the design of a transforming character of the building. This resulted in the need for a public building that could be modified within the rigid urban plan of Athens, which has remained unchanged for years, thus passing the message that there is a willingness to change.
The building itself is essentially a message and at the same time an unconventional building that changes its form - it transforms according to the needs of its users and the events taking place in it, in a city where the structures remain stationary. Because of this stagnation, the facades of our project follow the strictness of the facades of Stadiou and Aeolou streets (West and East side), while inside (North side), the unconventional character is directly perceived.
Reference must be made to the relationship that is sought to be developed between the citizens and the city through the architectural proposal. In this building, everyone has the opportunity to learn about the city and the building itself, to get to know the city through the exhibitions on the very city that it is hosted and to experience the urban environment through its tour at all levels of the building, since the people experience direct contact with the city through the visual contact to city the building offers you.
Finally, the access is made through the core of the vertical circulation found at the back of the plot connecting all levels, the raccoal which is an extension of the 28th October street (Patission Avenue), the tiers leading to the lower part as well as the underground connection of the metro station of Omonia Square.