Youth Centre for Refugees (ages: 18-22)

Kypseli, Athens

 

Size/ 300 m2
Type/ Architectural design and complete renovation of youth hostel
Status/ Completed
Year/ 2015

The two-storey 1960’s building, located on the corner of Rizou and Aristotelous street, in the heart of the city, is a property of the Society for the Care of Minors and until recently was completely empty and unoccupied. The intention, the will and the indication that was communicated to our team, was to design, process and create a complicated system of spaces, functions and uses, that would meet the needs of hosting young adult immigrants not older than 22 years old.


Besides practical and operational aspects of the project that we had to face, our main design challenge, was to create a space with an appropriate atmosphere and necessary vividness addressed to young people, having different backgrounds, who need to feel safe, to socialize and interact. The goal was to create circumstances that would lead to a cozy and friendly environment establishing a home for incoming guests.


We elaborated a complete series of architectural drawings and technical reports, based on which a total renovation of the building was planned, while respecting the existing surroundings and urban environment and complying with a strict budget. As far as the envelope of the building is concerned, all facades were completely redesigned, while rearranging openings and applying new lining materials. The basic idea for the design of elevations was based on an alternation between solid and void, and a rhythmic repetition of vertical colored or brick stripes that extend from the base of the building to its highest level. The use of austere lines makes it easier to by passers to understand the volumes of the facades, while brick linings impart naturalness to the building and link it with the urban environment. The characteristic masonry of bricks constitutes a design gesture that aims to intensify the visual and touching senses while experiencing the building.


The floor plan and a large part of ground level were organized anew in order to meet the needs of arranging spaces and rooms. The list of the building’s programs contains zones of bedrooms and private spaces, common living rooms and lounge areas, kitchen, bathrooms, administrative offices, storage spaces and finally spaces for multiple uses.


After following specifications regarding the quality of construction materials, we carefully selected and applied colors, forms, textures, lighting and designed constructions, in order to enrich spaces with qualities appropriate for corresponding programs. We handled interior walls not only as spatial borders but as surfaces covered with youthful colors, various materials and graphic design interventions that interact with vivid common spaces and bedrooms and evoke creativity to its inhabitants. Ultimately, the arrangement of lighting fixtures in each space was based accordingly to the usability and demands of each program.