Interview by Antoinette Nassopoulos-Erickson,
Senior Partner at Foster + Partners
to Symela Touchtidou
Foster + Partners have taken up construction of the Marina Residential Tower at the Ellinikon, the urban regeneration project on the Athenian Riviera. Construction will begin in 2022 and it is expected to be completed in 2025.
Right at the heart of the Ellinikon masterplan site, in the Agios Kosmas marina area, the Marina Residential Tower is expected to become one of Ellinikon’s architectural landmarks, the tallest building in Greece and the tallest green beachfront high-rise building in the Mediterranean.
“The design draws inspiration from the ecological and cultural elements of the Mediterranean landscape and from Athens’s vernacular architecture to create an innovative design approach,” Foster + Partners’ website notes.
Rising to 200 meters above sea level, Marina Tower will have 200 apartments on 45 floors. On completion, it will be one of the six tall buildings to be developed at the Ellinikon.
The key characteristic of the design approach is the creation of a building with a slim silhouette. According to the designs, green and water elements will be enhancing the building’s bioclimatic nature. All apartments will have construction materials that are environmentally friendly and the specifications of smart buildings.
Foster + Partners says the Marina Tower will “generate a new paradigm for high-rise living and a green beacon in the landscape”.
Still, many doubt that high-rise buildings can be sustainable and eco-friendly. We asked Antoinette Nassopoulos-Erickson, Senior Partner at Foster + Partners how the Marina Tower project will strike a balance between high design and sustainability.
High-rise buildings have been blamed that they have a negative impact on the surrounding environment. How will you secure that the Marine Tower will be an eco-friendly building?
The Marina Tower will be one of the greenest high-rise buildings in the world. A model of sustainable design, the tower will incorporate best environmental practices and cutting-edge international safety protocols. All apartments will have pioneering services and amenities, construction materials that are locally sourced and the specifications of a smart building.
Biophilic design will be incorporated throughout the building, enhancing connectivity with the natural environment. A green spine of lush terraces runs through the heart of the tower, encouraging outdoor living and creating a pleasant microclimate.
The organic design of the staggered balconies provides solar shading to reduce the need for mechanical cooling during the summer months. The aim of the tower is to utilise passive solar design and use minimal energy by working with the environment, while also making sure that the materials and components are sustainable and have low embodied carbon.
Will the Marina Tower have any green building certification (such as LEED, BREEAM or WELL)?
The sustainability strategy is aligned to LEED certification as well as international best practice strategies from wider sustainable design, including the WELL Standard. The Marina Tower aims to achieve LEED BD+C: New Construction Gold as a minimum with the aspiration to reach Platinum
Some say greenery is often used as a means of “greenwashing” buildings. How would you respond if someone argued this for the Marina Tower?
Foster + Partners has been at the forefront of sustainable design for over fifty years. The practice takes a holistic approach to driving the agenda, developing more efficient ways of designing and operating buildings. Situated at the heart of the masterplan site, Marina Tower embodies its core principles to create a sustainable exemplar for contemporary living. The project is about the restoration and regeneration of the area, which will become an amenity for all of Athens.
About Foster + Partners
Foster + Partners, a British architectural, engineering, and integrated design practice, is one of the largest architectural firms in the world. Its portfolio includes iconic projects such as the Millennium Bridge (London, June 2000 ), London’s City Hall (July 2002), the Mobility Pavilion (in partnership with Expo 2020 Dubai), the One Beverly Hills and the Millau Viaduct bridge. It has specialist in-house teams for carbon impact assessments, environmental analysis, materials research, landscape and workplace design, and environmental and structural engineering.