Ampelokipoi (Αμπελόκηποι), Athens

Architecture / architecture, Athens, city, density, housing, towers, urban planning
Ampelokipoi (Αμπελόκηποι), Athens

We would like to present you one of the most densely populated districts of Athens: Ampelokipoi, which is also crossed by four of the main avenues in the city: Kifisias, Vas. Sofias, Alexandras and Mesogeion. Even if this area was added to the urban plan of Athens on the 26th of November in 1926, its development was notable between 1960 and 1970. But let’s go back through history and see how this land was used before. It is known that this place was covered by woods and gardens along with many streams that crossed it. By 1934, most of these streams were already covered.

Over the years, important landowners started to build and although some of these constructions can’t be seen nowadays, they are well known to the population of Athens. Notable is the Villa Thon which was built in 1887 by Ernst Ziller and demolished in 1944, leaving space for a new complex of office buildings and amenities.

Another important building was the Villa Margarita which was built in the 20th century by some English architects, covering 1613 sq.m. with 32 rooms, storage spaces, with domes and turrets. Later in 1967, part of the courtyard was expropriated in order to facilitate the circulation on Mesogeion, so its surface was limited to 1098 square meters and in 1970 it was demolished letting room for a 9 floor building which houses today the National Bank of Greece.

Apart from the private buildings, of historical importance are also the refugees’ apartments on Alexandras Avenue. These flats were built by the municipality in 1878 along with the Averof prison, the Elpis Hospital and the stadium of Panathinaikos. This was an attempt of the public authorities to gather the great number of Asia Minor refugees that came to Athens after the disaster in 1922. The housing complex was built between 1933-1935, on the plans of Kimon Laskaris and Dimitrios Kyriakou and it consisted of eight successive buildings parallel to the axis of the street with a total of 228 apartments. Their architecture was simple without any decorations and purely functional, following the principles of the Bauhaus movement. Nowadays, they are still used regardless their poor state.

While walking by, you can also notice a large number of cinemas and we will mention here the first one: Astron, with 1360 seats, designed by Solona Kidoniati. The cinema is particular due to its seating arrangement, being the first cinema that focuses on the balcony, which is simply inclined without stairs facilitating, in this way, the direct access. From the spacious lobby that faces Kifisia, an impressive staircase leads to the balcony and two side staircases lead to the auditorium. The difference between the seats was also made through the materials which were used for the seats: dark red for the lower side and blue-grey for the balcony.

In this central district you will find four of the twenty highest buildings in Athens and below we will note them along with some significant details and facts.

Athens Tower 1

With a height of 103m, 28 floors above the ground and 3 below and 500 parking lots, it is considered the only skyscraper in Greece. In an International style, it was designed in 1968 by Ioannis Vikelas and its construction was completed in 1971, being the highest building in the Balkans at that time. The elevators reach the last floor in 30 seconds.

Apollo Tower

This one is the highest residential building in Greece, with 80m height and 25 floors. It was built in 1973 in a modern style. However it’s hard to know the name of the architect since it was probably built by a large construction company. As a fact, the elevators do not stop at the 13th floor even if this floor is inhabited and the flat has also a swimming pool at the terrace.

The President Hotel

This one is the highest hotel in Athens with a height of 68m and 22 floors. It was also designed by Ioannis Vikelas in 1974 and its architectural style is also modern, with a swimming pool at the terrace.

Athens Tower 2

With a height of 65 m and 15 floors, this international style building was designed in 1968 by Ioannis Vikelas and can be found next to the Athens Tower 1.

Since the ‘60s, when this area acquired significant commercial activity, due to its developed infrastructure, it became the favorite spot for banks, enterprises and other business activities and its architecture and urban planning are characteristic to the modern city of Athens.

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