Inviting entries from architects who are under the age of 45, the Biennale brings together the best of the emerging talent in the industry. This year’s Biennale also acts as a litmus test for the health of Greek architecture in the midst, and immediate aftermath, of austerity.
Yet while the industry may still be experiencing the effects of the economic crisis, the range and scope of these buildings, both in terms of location and design, are impressive. Strikingly this year, the large majority of works and proposals that were submitted were residential buildings, in spite of the architects undertaking more projects abroad – a reflection of the challenges posed by the crisis.
Proposals for buildings submitted vary from small coastal shacks to dynamic interpretations of public spaces, and a wealth of ideas in between. The imaginative and technical range of projects offers a nuanced reflection of the country’s impressive design talent.
Leading creatives from Greece’s architecture and design landscape, including Christina Papadimitriou, Marianna Milioni and Elias Constantopoulos, worked together to curate this year’s Biennale. Running from the 27 September until 25 November 2018, a visit to the exhibition will leave audiences with much to think about. Here are some of the architects and architecture firms shaping the design conversation in Greece.
Praxitelis Kondylis established A31 architects in 2003, and the firm is based in Athens. The firm’s dynamic team works on private and public projects across Greece and Cyprus and have won numerous awards for their modern, natural designs. The architects promote a holistic approach to design that cherishes the fusion of art and science. Their buildings permit the entrance of copious natural light and are often centred around organic shapes.
Architects Christos Papas, Eleni Moschovakou and Spyros Abatzoglou as well as civil engineer Sterios Dimitrakis and lighting designer and architect Mara Spentza comprise 406, a boutique firm with a nimble, dynamic approach to design. The team works on a diverse range of projects, from the Innovative Bioclimatic School Complex in Crete to designing private spaces in the commercial and residential sectors. Across the range of their portfolio, 406 architects’ work is defined by an open approach in which buildings are imagined within their natural environments. Materials are sympathetically aligned with their surrounding landscapes, while shapes and forms respond captivatingly to the space they occupy. This vision ensures striking contrasts as well as holistic solutions.
Founded by Iliana Kerestetzi, Mold Architects has already received accolades such as winning the SADAS-PEA in 2014 for Best Residential Project for 2009-2013 and being nominated for the East Centric Architecture Triennale Award in 2016. The firm’s practice brings together natural landscapes and integrated design. A notable example of this is Mold’s Serifos properties, which saw Kerestetzi use dry stonewalling and oxidised wooden beams to blend the house into its sloping hillside location.
Founded in 2005 by Leonidas Papalampropoulos, who was later joined by architect Georgia Syriopoulou in 2014, Papalampropoulos Syriopoulou Architecture Bureau is a leading architecture firm in Greece. Their imaginative and experimental approach to both public and private projects has been widely recognised. Ideas are far-flung and ambitious, ranging from cultural terminals to cities housed within a single building. Designs work with the history of each place, harnessing the social, cultural and natural context to offer a new vision.
First founded by Tsampikos K. Petras in 2013, Petras Architecture is a leading Greek architecture firm with an international reach and global recognition. The firm combines an environmental, biodynamic vision with futuristic design elements. In doing so, buildings subvert proportional and structural expectations – triangular frameworks are turned upside down, and outer walls break from main buildings to transform unused space. This innovative approach saw Tsampikos K. Petras receive Europe’s Emerging Architect – 40 Under 40 Award in 2011 from the European Centre of Architecture.
Based between London and Greece, Eva Sopeoglou is an architect who brings a rigorous academic approach to her work. She has a desire to explore the idea of comfort in both exterior and interior design, as well as the way in which sustainability can be realised both in terms of the construction of the building and its overall finish. Sopeoglou’s interest in materials and fabrication has also seen the architect collaborate with textile and fashion designers.
Opened in 2004, Tense Architecture Network is a dynamic collective that approaches projects with a keen eye on modernity and the future evolution of cities. The firm renders sharp, energetic designs for both the public and private space. Geometric forms in the modernist tradition are married with experimental and free-flowing structures that command the viewer to look again, wherever they might encounter the work.