| The Avax S.A. headquarters at Athens
Alexandros Tombazis is a highly respected Greek architect with a worldwide reputation for his simple designs, which are responsive to the local culture and climate. His office, established in 1963 in Athens, has recently been awarded the EN ISO 9001 certificate for architectural design, supervision and consulting.
One of his projects, the office of Avax S.A., a major Greek contracting company, shows his versatility and ability to marry technology with architecture without compromising on aesthetics.
The result is a six-storeyed office building with three basements comprising 33,000 sq. ft on the east-facing slope of the Lycabettus hill in Athens.
The main aim of the design was to apply bio-climatic features to cover the energy demands of the building and create a comfortable environment for its users.
The structural frame is combined waffle-type reinforced concrete slabs and steel structure with a raised false floor. The main building facade consists of vertical glass silk screen-printed panels. The sculpture at the building’s entrance is by G. Lappas.
The following bio-climatic design features were applied:
Special vertical glass panels shade the east facade. They consist of double laminated glass panels with a silk screen-printed surface providing a shading coefficient of 70 per cent. The blinds rotate automatically in response to solar radiation
Openings are visible on both sides of the building with access to an under-floor plenum to provide fan-assisted night ventilation. Ceiling fans with individual demand are provided throughout the building, extending the comfort range
Lighting control systems measure the outdoor lighting levels and turn off/on interior lighting at specific times of the year and working hours. The system also checks space occupancy. The exterior thermal insulation is increased to 10 cm
An ice bank in the basement make use of off-peak electricity. A building management system controls shading, lighting and the back up A/C system, thus reducing energy consumption to a minimum.
The project was part of the THERMIE – EC (Energy Comfort 2000) programme and was partly funded by the European Commission — Directorate General XVII for Energy.
Its total energy consumption is being monitored and it is anticipated that it will be significantly less than 50 per cent of the energy consumption of equivalent conventional buildings.
(The author is an architect and urban designer)