16 Aug 2020

Behind the Accidentally Resilient Design of Athens Apartments

Despite the fast construction — usually to a civil engineer’s design rather than an architect’s — the generally family-sized apartments (i.e. 2-3 bedrooms) were often pleasant places to live. With deep, often wrap-around balconies that were frequently large enough to fit a full-sized dinner table and a wall of plants, the apartments had communal central heating (still a novelty across Europe in the 1950s), spacious common areas and surprisingly solid construction.

Fantastic write up on a type of building unique to Greece. They sound like a wonderful way to live. And bravo to Bloomberg, that's a well designed page with great illustrations to tell the story.

Not that these buildings were exclusively residential. The municipality of Athens only practiced zoning for heavy industry, leaving people free to set up shop in a polikatoikia. Even today, these buildings are often hives of activity, mixing offices, medical practices and even the odd workshop among homes.

Cities exist to work: our current pattern of dividing between leisure, retail, residential stresses transport and the inhabitants. There are better ways, and we've done them before.


Chancee is a designer who codes from London Town.

They have worked for the likes of Nike, Vodafone, Sky, Disney and Pearsons. Won awards from Promax, BAFTAs, the Appys and The Drum. Spoken at The Waldorf and Southampton University - despite swearing like a sailor. Available for hire to draw pretty curves and code clever things.