Asyrmatos Building – Athens, Greece - Atlas Obscura

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Asyrmatos Building

A unique housing complex born from the aftermath of the Greek Civil War.  

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The end of the Greek Civil War resulted in thousands of impoverished Greeks leaving the countryside and relocating to Athens. This put a significant strain on the available housing in the city, which resulted in hurried development. Many of these projects were eyesores or had ongoing issues, however, a longbow-shaped building at the foot of Filopappou Hill was one of the success stories.

In 1960, the Greek Ministry of Public Works hired Elli Vassilikioti to design a social housing project on the south slope of Filopappou Hill. Vassilikioti designed a minimalist, yet imposing four-story building on the ring road of the hill. The building was set between Appoloniou and Stisikleous Streets and designed in the shape of a longbow, consisting of 55 apartments and eight shops over four floors. Each apartment had a separate entrance along the corridors of the façade. Unique features include a tenant curated garden on the ground level, a pedestrian bridge on the second level connecting the building to Stisikleous Street, and a large common balcony that has a view of the sea on the upper level. The design was approved for two phases, with construction beginning in 1962 and completed in 1967. Residents and business owners soon moved in and the building became an example of successful Athenian public housing.

The building, as well as the area, became known as “Asyrmatos” (Wireless Antenna in Greek), a reference to the transmitting antenna which was located at the nearby Greek Naval War School and Telegraphers-Radio Operators School. While it has suffered a bit due to some aging, the 55-year-old Asyrmatos Building continues to serve its original purpose as a public housing project for working-class families.

Know Before You Go

The residents are rightfully protective, so it is advised visitors stay on public property and not infringe on private property. While this part of Filopappou Hill is generally safe, some areas of Stisikleous Street are not well lit after sunset therefore caution is advised while visiting after dark.

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