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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

'Aliki Perroti'' Student Residence



''Aliki Perroti'' Student Residence

'Aliki Perroti'' 

Student Residence

The 'ALIKI PERROTI STUDENT RESIDENCE' makes exemplary use of technologies that save energy and water.
In 2008 the Administration of the American Farm School, after the generous donation of Mrs. Aliki Perroti, decided to move to the construction of a new contemporary Student Residence.
The study for the new Aliki Perroti Student Residence was commissioned to the architectural firm P. MAKRIDIS & ASSOCIATES S.A. in October 2008. The building permit was issued in June 2009 and the building's construction, which after a tender was awarded to "PROVOLI S.A.," began on July, 2009.


The building has been inaugurated in October 2010, only 14 months after issuing the building's permit, despite the delay in the project due to Archaeological findings consisting of a late Roman Empire water system (water delivery pipes, 2 wells, cistern and storage tank) which were discovered during construction of the new building and have been preserved both inside the building and outside the southeast walls of the building.

The Design Team conducted a thorough and extensive research on the requirements, needs and demands of College residence halls, and fully adapted the guidelines of this research to the present project. The basic guidelines include:

-Respect and Integration of the building complex in the existing landscape
-Optimizing the living conditions of the residents
-Space flexibility and adaptability 
-Implementation of principals of environmental architecture 
-Adoption of innovative technologies, aiming to improve and protect the environment, minimize emissions, and adopt alternative 
 energy sources.


The 'ALIKI PERROTI STUDENT RESIDENCE' makes exemplary use of technologies that save energy and water. The total area of the main premises of the new building comlpex is almost 4.000 m², which are developed in three levels. The total area below ground is 1.500,00m².

The shape of the building is linear on an east-west axis, with the majority of dormitory rooms facing south. Natural lighting and heating for the rooms are therefore maximized. The 'ALIKI PERROTI STUDENT RESIDENCE' can accommodate 96 persons in total with: 46 double rooms, 2 rooms for people with disabilities and 2 supervisors' rooms. Students' rooms are doubles and are organized by two with a common living room. The rooms and the living rooms have fans to save energy.

All rooms have access to individual balconies or terraces that are designed to ensure sun protection from the south in summer, while allowing the sun to enter in the winter months.

The Communal Areas of the Student Residence are located in the adjacent, two-storey building that also houses the entrance to the complex.

The Multi-Purpose Common Room accommodates all students in the Student Residence in times of relaxation.

The SETH FRANK ASSEMBLY HALL is located one level below and can accommodate approximately 230 people. This room is in honor of a close friend of Mr. Perroti who provided ample help in the implementation of this project. The Assembly Hall is designed so that its acoustics can enhance both speech and music events.


The single storey Restaurant will operate as an independent building, connected directly to the Student Residence, and serve all students of the School. It can also be used to host approximately 180 people.

The complex is developed on three levels along the inclination of the ground. It consists of simple geometric forms with flat roofs. Linear sections of sloping roofs are to be used for the collection of solar radiation through collectors connected to heat storage tanks. These sloping roofs also work as natural lighting and ventilation chimneys directing natural light in the corridors, while ensuring natural ventilation in all areas. For this purpose, sections of the corridors are detached from the side walls, creating gaps to maximize the natural lighting of the building.


The complex gives the feeling of an harmonious dialogue with the open space, which is formed in graduated levels. The building's volume is split with the help of broad indentations of green in the rooms' wings. Much of the roof is planted with pergolas creating shaded areas that provide a pleasant resting set for the students, improving at the same time the insulation and the reduction of greenhouse gases.


The selected plants are Mediterranean with reduced irrigation requirements in accordance to contemporary environmental requirements or demands.

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All materials used were selected based on their behavior to the local climate, aesthetics, and more importantly due to their reduced maintenance requirements. The suspended, ventilated envelope of the building is constructed of handmade ceramic bricks and sheets of weathering steel (Corten) to absorb solar radiation and shield against cold wind in winter, and to protect against summer sunlight, substantially reducing energy consumption and significantly improving the building's environmental impact.

Immense emphasis was given to shielding the complex with highly enhanced thermal and water insulation, recyclable and friendly to users materials, that do not harm the environment.

The afore mentioned actions contribute substantially for the ecological and environmental behavior of the 'ALIKI PERROTI STUDENT RESIDENCE'.

The fever of the naked emperor


The fever of the naked emperor

The fever of the naked emperor

Brain health and architecture.
By Thanos Stasinopoulos

A key attribute of creativity is the capacity to transcend stereotypes. Are there any limits to that? The question re-emerged in my mind seeing the new work by Frank Gehry in Las Vegas, the Cleveland Clinic of Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health. In this case, I feel that the familiar eccentricity went too far.

I have never been a fan of the architecture by the famous Canadian architect, who at the age of 50 triggered the deconstructionist fashion starting from his own house, coincidentally at the same time with the spread of Punk. I dare say that I find it blatantly pompous, outrageously wasteful, and unnecessarily complex -the exact opposite of my own values. The strong sculptural qualities do not negate the fact that they are functional rather than monumental structures, which -like all buildings- are built to serve human beings rather than a few egos. Undeniably, something worthy of admiration is the architectural and construction staff that translates the rampant ideas of the maitre to a manufacturable reality. But personally I wonder how such an expensive architecture satire has become a smashing hit and a paradigm that many strive to emulate.

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(Left photo)Cleveland Clinic in Las Vegas, 2010 (architect Frank Gerry). Cost ~12,000 €/m2 (Right photo)Center of Visual Arts in Edmonton Alberta Canada, 2010 (architect Randall Stout,, a former Gehry Partners LLP associate). Cost ~11,000 €/m2.

Surely any architectural work reflects the sponsors for its implementation; at the same time, it embodies social values, philosophical ideas, and technical capabilities of its era. The whimsical design of deconstructed buildings pays little attention to construction, economic, and environmental imperatives, thus ensuring that they do not pass unnoticed. In that respect, they satisfy a centuries old architectural requirement, the exaltation of individuals or groups through the architectural image. Of course that comes at a price: for example, the building cost of the Las Vegas clinic reached almost 12,000 €/m2.

The emancipation from stereotypes is a significant achievement. But when it becomes a repeated stereotype itself, then something is fishy. I wonder if the self-serving goals of originality and glamour, the shanty approach in design, the absence of social content, and the contempt for material reality can establish an acceptable architectural concept, having as drab excuse the manifestation of philosophical theories like Derrida's.

It is better to leave others, more knowledgeable than me, to analyse the details about the origins and incentives of the deconstruction constellation. However, the aura of decay and decadent luxury emanating from the forms and materials of such constructions probably epitomizes our time more accurately than any other architectural expression today. In that sense, there is a remarkable visual resemblance between Gehry's works and the ruins of World Trade Center or bombarded Baghdad. 

Cleveland Clinic in Las Vegas during construction, 2010 (architect Frank Gerry)
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(Left photo)Building 7 at NY World Trade Center after its brutal deconstruction, 2001 (architect Osama Bin Laden) (Right photo)Deconstructed building in Baghdad, 2003 (architect unknown)

Certainly there are more aspects of our era, some of which facilitate the realization of such projects: it is the information technology with the capabilities provided by CAD/CAM/CAE, as well as modern construction tools and materials. Without them it would be very difficult to transform the deconstructed inspiration into real buildings of chaotic geometry.

Nevertheless, can deformed surfaces develop into building spaces? Apparently not, if we notice the fact that they are often supplemented by more regular structures, recruited to meet operational needs. For example, the recent Gehry project blends two completely different geometries, a deconstructed one on the south side and a cubist one on the north. It is not the first time: another example is the Hotel Marqués de Riscal in the Basque town of Elciego (built 2006), where metallic ribbons cover conventional blocks.

Cleveland Clinic in Las Vegas (south & north side)
Hotel Marqués de Riscal in the Basque town of Elciego, 2006 (architect Frank Gerry)

The rudimentary difference between the two sides of Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health suggests two contradictory hemispheres of the brain. That probably reflects the schizophrenia of our time, in which contradiction and absurdity are promoted to healthy perception -for example, the idea that deformity is beautiful, that consumerism can be green, that the global problem of poverty and hunger can be addressed by noisy symposia of the jet-set, or the oxymoron that we hear more and more strongly that it would be beneficial for hoi polloi to bestow their common property into the hands of a few.

O tempora, o mores ...

Thanos N. Stasinopoulos
Dr. Architect Engineer NTUA, AAGradDipl