Astir Palace Hotel Athens, Greece Building Photos, Architect, Greek Accommodation Project, Design Images

Astir Palace Athens Hotel

Nafisika Hotel Entry : Contemporary Greek Development

8 Oct 2008

Astir Palace : a Gate and a Canopy

Date built: 2008

R.Sakellaridou + M.Papanikolaou and Associate Architects

Astir Palace Athens Building, Nafisika Hotel

Astir Palace

Astir Palace

Astir Palace is a luxury resort 25kms away from the centre of Athens. Placed on a magnificent peninsula, the 50’s complex of three hotels was featured in countless movies and considered to be the epitome of luxury and chic for the last fifty years in Greece.

Astir Palace Gate & Canopy

During its recent phase of renovation, R.Sakellaridou + M.Papanikolaou and Associate Architects were asked to design an entrance Gate to replace the old one, and to upgrade the entrance of the Nafsika Hotel (the Canopy). In both cases the theme appeared to be about the in-between.

How do you design it, how do you approach the notion of the border? In both cases R.Sakellaridou + M.Papanikolaou and Associate Architects designed an interface.

The Gate

What is a gate, asked the architects. What else but a border, a point of penetration, an interface between the inside and the outside. A border that exists and, at the same time, that needs to disappear, to dissolve.

A gate speaks also about the gaze that allows to see, that discerns between the inside and the outside, that defines recognition and allows penetration. The gate is a border designed to allow space to pass through and dissolve. An existing large ficus tree on site defined a point of reference.

Two inlets in mild curves, that disappears through the transparency of the glass: the main for security and the other for auxcilliary spaces, one transparent, the other opaque. Fluid space, the curves of the vertical metal grids, a border that one can penetrate through the gaze, a continuous curve that unfolds in order to enclose, to create the in-between, to accept the natural.

Steel structure painted white, transparent and semi-transparent glass, white matte marble on the floor.

Nafisika Hotel Nafisika Hotel

The Canopy – Nafisika Hotel entrance upgrading

The Nafsika Hotel project becomes another interface.

The Hotel approached via its upper (6th) level on top of a steep cliff, lacked a sense of entrance. Massive airconditioning ducts on its roof, need for an entry canopy and for the upgrading of its three shops, formed the brief.
A series of undulating white metal vertical grids were placed around the air-conditioning ducts on the roof, offering an interesting interplay with semi-transparency and light.

The curved form of the canopy extends on the two sides to create a sense of enclosure. The white collumns introduce strong verticality. In the shops, white matte marble walls and ceiling create ‘boxes’ inserted into the slope, while, large glass surfaces give complete transparency. Round skylights penetrate the canopy. A white marble ellipse, planted with olive trees introduces an artificial landscape and a focus of interest.

The common ground for the concept

The scheme evolved into a whole, without having that in mind from the beginning. Originating at the Gate, the undulating white metal forms took over on the roof of Nafiska Hotel and then, grew out to form the Canopy.
The choice of white colour was made early on, for, it is a colour that reflects the strong Mediterranean sun.

The vertical white grids brought to mind images of resort architecture from the 50’s. The underlying similarities were brought to the foreground gradually, as the notion of the two projects being interfaces emerged. From then on, the two projects evolved through the same concept, which became transformed into space and form, materials and movement.

Nafisika Hotel Astir Palace Athens

The two projects are hybrids. They were born on the common-ground of what exists with that that is emerging. They were born through an osmosis between the interiority, that gives each one its individuality, and the exteriority, be it landscape, architecture, programme, image, or nature, that connects it with everything else.


World Architecture Festival Awards 2008 – Holiday Category Finalist

Astir Palace Athens – Building Information

Design: R.Sakellaridou + M.Papanikolaou and Associate Architects
Architects: Rena Sakellaridou, Morfo Papanikolaou
Collaborators: I.Kloni, N.Katsikis, G.Anagnostelis, G.Adhlenidou
Astir Palace Photos: Erieta Attali
Design: 2006-07
Construction: 2008

Astir Palace Gate & Canopy images / information from R.Sakellaridou + M.Papanikolaou and Associate Architects

Sakellaridou + Papanikolaou Architects

Location: Astir Palace, Athens, Greece, southeast Europe

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