Τhe Orbit is a nine story office building with a gross surface of 40.000 sq.m. in Ampelokipoi, Athens, covering a whole building block. The plot is inclined mainly along the east – west axis. The building was initially conceived and designed in 2004 to house one single leaseholder, which proved to be very difficult due to the building's large size and capacity. That first phase of its construction lasted from 2004 to 2010 during which time the bearing structure and the shell were nearly concluded. In 2018 a complete redesign was initiated.
By implementing the current building regulations and provisions , the two parallel office wings were brought together with the allocation of the main circulation core in the center , which offered new flexibilities in the office layouts.
The new concept aimed to offer important outdoor areas on each floor, as well as, transforming the notion of the offices as closed building blocks. Large terraces and roof gardens were formed on top of the stepped volumes, overlooking the avenue and offering a peaceful environment, right in the middle of the fast and noisy city rhythm. Projected balconies and terraces, bridging both wings in alternating floors, have been added to the west of the complex, towards a small park. That way a new gate was offered to the building, that is actually the main entrance for everyone coming from the Panormou metro station. It is important to mention that these new balconies, with a cantilever of 8 m. and the new terraces that form 22m long bridges between the two wings, are propably the most bold interventions that were made to the existing concrete skeleton from a structural aspect.
Two elements contribute to the new building's identity. The first one is undeniably the continuous horizontal fins, clad in aluminum panels, that cover practically the whole building perimeter, offering efficient shading and the second one is the strong presence of vegetation, that is found in the form of vertical gardens in front of the four secondary stairwells found on the two large facades ( south and north ) and in the form of, as mentioned before, sky gardens on the various terraces.
The contribution of the lighting design was also very important in creating a comfortable enviroment and highlighting the architectural details while following an enviromentally responsible direction.
The building is actually about to be granted the highest enviromental LEED platinum distinction, as it serves its purpose by providing high quality energy efficient working and live-in spaces while retaining a very low enviromental footrpint. The landscape design also serves these goals, by creating a sustainable, low maintance, mediterranean microclimate containing a large variety of native plants that result in an all year long lasting ensemble of high aesthetics.
The extensive planted surfaces , both horizontal and vertical, cover a total surface equal to 80% of the site's surface, forming a building that it truly green as an entity, and could be described as an autonomous in situ ecosystem.