Get your camera ready for The Foundry’s rooftop that has become the talk-of the town!
They say that the best way to get a city’s vibe is to go where the locals go- and if there is one thing Athenians never get tired of, that is beautiful rooftops with jaw-dropping views of the city center. Located in the heart of the cult Psirri, The Foundry Hotel is the city’s new entry. From the interesting backstory to the outstanding design approach and from the stylish rooms to the talk-of-the-town rooftop, the Foundry has all it takes to make it to your travel bucket list.
The interesting backstory of The Foundry
At an impasse alley of Sarri street, the old two-storey foundry owned by Karpathakis – Anagnostopoulos that was built in 1930, undergoes a full reconstruction, transforming it into a boutique hotel of 12 fully-equipped apartments, thus becoming a new haven of hospitality in the heart of the historic centre of the Greek capital. From the building’s entrance to its verdant rooftop, the architects Miltiadis Portokalis and Efi Malandraki, jointly chose to portray elements of Athenian history, of Psyrri’s district local craft industry, of the Greek urban landscape through the selected construction materials (marble, mosaic, stone), all fused with a contemporary architectural approach. The architects’ aim was to create a welcoming space, of high aesthetics, functionality and comfort.
The recommissioning of the building (known to Athenians as Politeia Theatre in recent years) and its remodeling into a modern hospitality venue for international guests as well as Greek visitors of Athens, was the main goal of this venture undertaken by the investment construction company that decided to commence the restoration of the old foundry in 2016. The respect for the property’s unique character, that was shaped through the various uses it had been host to – initially as a symbol of the proliferation of Athens’ craft industry at the beginning of the 20th century and later as a performing arts venue – contributed to the central architectural idea and towards defining the fundamental principles of design.
Entering The Foundry
The internal architectural form obeys the existing facade openings that provide natural lighting and ventilation in all the main daytime areas. The 12 apartments are completely differentiated in terms of the design approach; the unique design depends on the internal heights, the arrangement of their functionality or the floor they are in, thus rejecting the vocabulary of a typical hotel floor plan.
On the ground floor, the layout of the well appointed reception is encompassed by custom made furniture, and lighting fittings designed by the architects, Vitra design furniture and a tailor made library – a tribute to the printing history of the building – with Athenian and Greek editions of various books, magazines and newspapers of the 20th century.
Placed within the solid wooden floor of the reception, there is a viewing glass that overlooks the specially designed hotel cellar, which emerged from discovering the old factory tank during the reconstruction. The tank was preserved and remodeled – due to its convenient microclimate – into a storage area for wine and products from around Greece.
The 12 independent apartments that are found on the ground and first two levels, range from 25 – 60 m2 and invite the visitor to experience a modern way of collective living in Athens. On the ground floor of the building, one can find 2 of the hotel’s 12 apartments, designed around two internal, private atrium courtyards with the aim of bringing visitors in contact with the natural element, as well as contributing to the natural lighting and ventilation of each space.
Respecting the existing opening proportions of the building and taking advantage of the floor double heights of the old industrial shell, the architects created a two-storey setup within some of the apartments, incorporating metal framed lofts (statically autonomous), thus allowing multiple hospitality scenarios.
The hotel’s unique private terrace is located in one of the luxurious suites on the second floor, overlooking the imposing rock of the Acropolis. The abundant natural lighting of the apartments and the decor elements infused with mid-century modern aesthetics, are combined with a carefully chosen material palette inspired by the Athenian historical cultural landscape, and together offer every visitor instant contact with the memory of the building and the identity of the place.
The Rooftop Picnic Garden of The Foundry
The rooftop of the building is an attempt to reinterpret the typical courtyard of a traditional Greek dwelling, all the while offering an elevated verdant and shaded meeting, relaxation and entertainment spot. Amidst the exclusively Greek vegetation of olive and pomegranate trees, lavender, fragrant plants and vineyard-laced pergolas, a walkway of marble slabs is formed – each on a different slope, not following the axis of the building’s contours – that orient the beholder’s gaze to different visual paths.
Thus hotel guests can indulge in unobstructed views of the Acropolis, Philopappou Hill, the Observatory and the Gazi district with the added opportunity to savour flavours and aromas of delectable Greek products during a rooftop picnic experience.
Several individual constructions, such as marble stands, metal pergolas with traditional wattle reed roofing, new metal railings influenced by the Greek Bauhaus, as well as the addition of a wood-fired oven for the preparation of Greek meals, all contribute to connecting the space with the historical landscape that surrounds it, further enhancing the visitor’s experience.
Means of Creativity
The creative desire of bringing to life a contemporary identity for the building, together with the confidence in the value of high quality materials and techniques, are reflected in all the details of both private and common areas. Elements of traditional Greek architecture were redefined (atriums, double heights, pergolas and roofed balconies) and combined with the harmonious use of advanced technology that is required for the completion of a modern architectural building (internal partitions of double gypsum board with full sound proof insulation, modern E/M installations, solar evacuated tube collector sunsystems, vertical gardens and others).
In the building’s interior, the architects chose to combine authentic vintage furniture with items of contemporary design, wallpapers with boho references, handmade lighting fixtures and custom metal constructions, earthly tones and intense color contrasts, adding a refined, distinct identity to each space. Natural materials such as oak as well as Greek marble and tiles of large dimensions have been used as wall and floor coverings.
At the same time, the existing materials of the building, such as visible masonry and ceilings featuring Byzantine bricks, were preserved and showcased, thus contributing to the continuity of the building’s historicity and to the creation of spaces that have a timeless and intimate luxury about them.
The contemporary need for double glazing (insulation / sound protection) and the decision to maintain the industrial steel framework in high-rise openings greatly increased the weight of the frames, leading the architects to create a separate customised manual, cog mechanism for opening the windows.
Thus, by the simple act of opening the windows, the guest experientially approaches the historicity of the property, reassessing the relation of modern luxury with the industrial past of the building, as well as gradually determining the degree of correlation with the city’s external environment.
The hospitality experience across all aspects of everyday life is a driving force and the compass for both the owners-architects as well as for the staff of The Foundry Hotel. From the reception area and the wine cellar, up to every detail of furnishing and landscaping, the sense of intimacy during one’s stay is woven through the ‘marriage’ of professionalism, discretion, high aesthetics, and simplicity in luxury.