The House Box In Koukaki / Sofia Tsiraki

© Babis Louizidis

Architect: Sofia Tsiraki
Location: ,
Consultant: Tassos Biris
Total surface: 250 sqm
Completion: 2011
Structural engineers: Kostas Poluxronopoulos (Xroneas-Pagonis-Kinatos)
Mechanical engineers: George Christofilis
Photographs: Erieta Attali, Babis Louizidis, Sofia Tsiraki


© Erieta Attali

This house is part of an old Athenian neighborhood with unique character, at the base of the hill of Filopappos. It occupies a small piece of land between two existing houses. It has its main elevation towards the public street, and also, a small back yard. The house includes:

The private residence space, which develops vertically in split levels that lodge the living room, the kitchen, an office space an outdoor courtyard with view towards the street, bedrooms and three levels of outdoor roof gardens; and the space of cultural activities that is used for performances and exhibitions. This space occupies the ground floor and the first basement and has independent access from the public street.

Courtesy of Sofia Tsiraki

The arrangement of this house is an application of the modernist concept of the “primary habitable box”, or the minimum “life container”, after the Greek architect, Aris Konstantinidis. The preference of a solid “box” over an open composition of planes was a primary compositional decision that facilitated the integration of the house within the old neighborhood. The massive, strictly defined boundary of the private house towards the public street shelters the delicate, practices of “private living” and accommodates all the collective and individual activities of the inhabitants.

The rooms are organized along a flowing spiral arrangement rising via a sequence of split-levels placed 1.50 m higher from one another, starting from the ground level and ending at the green roof. The interior void space between the split-levels becomes the spatial core of the house.

Courtesy of Sofia Tsiraki

Despite the clarity with which the private interior life is enclosed and protected from the public street the house retains a social façade, through a balanced visual and spatial association between public and private.

Primary material of the structural frame and the outer skin of the building envelope is the uncovered, unpainted concrete.
Important elements in achieving sustainability :
a. the interior void space and the open- plan composition (fluid open spaces without partitions) achieve the best ventilation and natural lighting of the entire building.

© Babis Louizidis

b. the widespread use of wooden frame panels on the facades, prevent solar overheating, avoid energy use for extra cooling and allow the warm air out, while they provide a natural ventilation, lighting and a good indoor climate.

1st floor plan

C. the planting of all outdoor and especially a large part of the surface of the roof, in order to achieve a “green roof”, covered with vegetation, a medium growing and small trees (e.g. olive trees, pomegranate trees )

Cite: "The House Box In Koukaki / Sofia Tsiraki" 04 May 2012. ArchDaily. Accessed 30 May 2015. <>
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  • 123

    It must be true that Greece has been hit hard by recession if they can not afford rendering and plastering to walls&ceilings :)

    • estelle

      Actually, it’s called an architectural OPTION (and a very popular one) NOT an economic necessity, and it costs more to obtain a decent result like this rather than plastering everything. Get your facts straight.
      Yours truly, a Greek.

    • Jim

      hopefully you are making a joke with your comment, because besides being a rather old project(a.k.a. before recession)and really well known here in Greece it is rather expensive on its own.All those exposed concrete walls cost 3 times up the typical concrete construction.

  • hugh mann

    its a wonderful project! should visit next time im in athens!

  • Andreas Chadzis

    wonderful work by an inspired architect,it provides amazing human scale and perfectly treated materiality, to a pretty much destroyed human and built environment, – GOOD WORK !