The design objective of the new building was to house the YMCA Annex in Asvestochori, on a privately owned, corner plot with a total area of 1,420m2.
The building form is simple but contemporary and dynamic, and is structured according to the various functions (music rooms – gym and physical activities – leisure spaces) in order to create an enjoyable and cozy atmosphere.
The main objectives of the design were:
Based on the building program and operational requirements identified by the Client, it was chosen to develop the building along the front side of the plot and divide it into individual blocks to ensure the direct, natural lighting in most areas of the building.
The building blends into the surrounding landscape, due to its limited height, and is shaped as an extension of the existing urban fabric. Its simple geometric forms are characterized by transparency with glass facades and extended openings towards the outdoor main courtyard, as well as the side of the road, assuring visual continuity between interior and exterior spaces.
The volume is developed in two levels, the ground floor, where the main and secondary entrances are located, and the semi-basement.
The vertical connections occur via two internal stairwells, and a lift provided for the physically impaired.
The building’s organisation aimed towards functional optimization, zoning and perception of the spaces. The different activities (teaching – leisure – sports) are grouped in separate areas of the building and are organised around an internal courtyard which is connected to all common spaces. This introvert configuration aids the protection of the pool area and courtyard from severe weather conditions (ex. strong winds), provides natural ventilation during the summer months, and ensures maximum privacy.
The main entrance is slightly elevated in relation to its surrounding and can be easily identified from street level, while the visitor encounters the reception desk upon entering the building. A ramp provides access for people with reduced mobility and parents with young children.
The building is environmentally friendly and maximises energy saving. Provision has been taken for the cross ventilation and natural cooling of the interior. Ceiling fans are applied in order to limit the use of airconditioning and to ensure thermal confort. The external shelters of the rooms facing south provide shading during the summer months, while during winter they allow the sunlight to fill the rooms for aiding their lighting and heating. The location of the pool in the center of the uncovered outdoor space, allows for the natural cooling during the summer months and improves the microclimate of the adjascent rooms as well as the multifunctional room. The increased needs for cooling of the gym enforced locating them in the undeground level of the building. Respectively the music rooms were located on the south side of the plot to gain the best possible sunlighting, as well as accoustical isolation from the rest of the building.
An outdoors children’s playground with novel installations for games is surrounded by a dense zone of green.
Due to the narrow dimensions of the plot, a fenced basket ball court is placed on the roof of the multipurpose room.
Landscape formations include further planting of trees and shrubs and other mediterranean plants suitable for the climate of the region with limited irrigation requirements, following contemporary sustainability principles.
In the northern and western side of the plot, at the borders with the neighbouring plots, dense planting is proposed for the visual and acoustic isolation of the complex. In the eastern and southern side of the court sparse planting of deciduous trees is intended so as to provide shade in the summer and allow sun – heating in the winter.
The materials used were selected depending on their performance to the existing climatic conditions, their aesthetic value and mainly on their durability and low-maintenance. Special care has been taken to shelter the exterior surfaces of the building with extra thermal and water insulation, with sustainable, user friendly and recyclable materials. The materials used in the external facades are colorful ready-made ecological plaster and minor cladding with aluminum panels.
YMCA of Thessaloniki
I.Kapodistriou & A.Papandreou St., Asvestohori, Thessaloniki
Project was won through a committee selection of architect candidates