The TSMEDE building has two important characteristics that differentiate it from other typical Athenian office and residential blocks. First, it is a place with extraordinarily frequent visitations by the fund’s many members, making it a public meeting point for Athenian engineers and architects. Second, the plot is very near the classical Themistoclean Wall and is itself an archaeological site with ruins that are to be visible to the public.
The design responds to the dual challenges of the program and the site with a simple strategy that relates to its structural system. Floor high Vierendeel trusses span the whole width of the plot and allow for the open spaces needed for the ancient ruins just below ground level and for the extensive public facilities on floors 3, 5 and 7. Intermediate floors 2, 4, 6, and top floor 8 are densely gridded with the vertical elements of the vierendeels and house all the enclosed and partitioned offices, archives and technical rooms. The design attempts to exploit the disjunctive character of the multistory building and the elevator and respond with an iconic structure to the city’s often contradictory requirements.