Tour a Surreal 11-Story Mansion in Athens
I believe that an architect’s biggest responsibility is to create buildings that blend harmoniously into their surroundings. If the environment is a natural wooded setting, the building should not violate the innate beauty of the site with hard forms or introduce artificial materials that are not appropriate to the leafy landscape. But when the landscape is urban, out of respect for the aesthetic already established in the neighborhood, the building should acknowledge the inherent modernity of contemporary materials and forms. So what happens when a mansion is constructed on the actual threshold between the built and the unbuilt? When the land it sits on is that marginal territory that exists on the edge of a densely built urban panorama and that of a completely natural environment?
The answer is simple, but the task it generates is far more complex. The building must harmonize with both aesthetics. It must be contemporary enough to qualify as a structure in the city, but maybe more important, it must blend harmoniously with the adjacent natural landscape.
Such is the case with Athens’ One Kleomenous—the first official project completed by the recently formed Athens-based company Omniview. The building is an imposing residence in the heart of the city, with 11 floors—six above, and five below, ground level. Both the clients—a young couple with three children—and the architect shared a love for Mount Lycabettus, a limestone hill, which, at 900 feet, offers an incomparable view of the sprawling city that stretches out below it, with the Acropolis at its center.