WWF Greece Headquarters (Back)

Read More
Images (Back)

WWF Greece Headquarters, 1765 m2

Athens, Greece, 2022

Photography by Vasso Paraschi
Lighting Design by LUUN

Promoting the revitalisation of the centre of Athens through the re-activation of existing spaces, World Wildlife Fund Greece chose an iconic 1992 brutalist former gallery building in Neapoli by Michalis Souvatzidis as its headquarters.  The building’s impenetrable monolithic façade conceals a labyrinthine interior sculpted almost entirely out of concrete.  The eight levels interconnect through stairs, ramps, elevators and half-levels, and are organized around a central atrium rising from the Lower Ground Floor to the Roof.

Our mission was clear: we needed to optimise the geometries, flows and materialities of the existing building to create a comfortable, attractive and energy-efficient work environment tailored to the needs of WWF.

Tackling the building envelope first, internal and external layers of thermal insulation were added, and the glass blocks on the facades were replaced with insulated glazing.  The biggest alteration was the conversion of the central atrium into an exterior space through the addition of perimetric operable windows on all levels and the removal of its glazed roof.  As a result, the atrium was converted into a ‘battery’ of natural energy, allowing indirect lighting and increasing air flow.

Internally, the new design embraces and incorporates the dominant existing materials, such as the white Dionysus marble floors and the exposed concrete ceilings.  The black-and-white environment is enriched with a calming aqua green palette, reminiscent of the Greek underwater world, with pops of bright orange or electric blue.  Natural birch is used for newly constructed elements, such as room dividers and office furniture.

The Lower Ground Floor contains an auditorium, lounge area and staff kitchen, and opens up to a lush three-dimensional urban garden.  The Upper Ground Floor, on street level, has a more public character, with a periodic exhibition space, area for direct dialogue, and floating orange meeting room.  Three floors of open plan offices follow, with particular attention paid to the creation of a variety of open and closed spaces for solo work, private conversations and team meetings.  The reinforced concrete ceilings were not pierced or concealed: circular, square and linear lights and soundproofing units were placed freely overhead, and exposed wiring was highly curated.

The custom-designed office units are self-contained, with integrated sockets and wiring, and can be wheeled to form new configurations.  Individual desks can be connected to each other to form clusters, their wiring running through the central channel and plugging them into perimetrical sockets hidden inside a wooden shelf at eye level.