What we know about The Ellinikon, Athens’ upcoming smart city

With a team of international architects including Norman Foster, Kengo Kuma, and Bjarke Ingels, this is how construction is progressing on one of Europe’s most important urban regeneration projects.

Ellinikon is currently one of the largest European urban redevelopment projects underway on the coastal part of Athens. With an estimated budget of 8 billion euros, the ambitious project will bring back to life the obsolete site of the Athens International Airport, which operated from 1938 to 2001, before a new one was inaugurated for the 2004 Summer Olympics.

Ellinikon, Athens’ upcoming smart city. Courtesy LAMDA Development

The “smart city”, which also includes one of the largest coastal parks in Europe, is beginning to take shape in its final conformation. The project brings together international architectural firms such as Foster and Partners, Kengo Kuma and Associates, Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG), Aedas, SAOTA, Oppenheim Architecture and Sasaki, as well as Greek firms such as 314 Architecture Studio and Bobotis+Bobotis Architects.

Only six months after construction began in June 2021, LAMDA Development completed the first part of Ellinikon Park. The project covers an area of 75,000 square meters and is located in the Aviation Hangars Precinct, which surrounds three of the former airport's historic hangars. Sasaki is leading the project together with local landscape architect doxiadis+, with over 900 trees and 80,000 regional plants already planted.

The park features rain gardens for stormwater management, uses natural materials and reuses existing surfaces for benches and paths. It includes an interactive fountain with choreographed lights and music, an outdoor sports area and an accessible children's playground.

The Ellinikon Experience Centre is a space where visitors can discover the redevelopment project in depth through more than 22 unique, natural and immersive technological and digital exhibits. Another part of the project that will open this year is the AMEA building, an 11,500 square meters facility that will house four associations for people with disabilities in four separate and interconnected buildings.

Little Athens, on the other hand, is the city's latest confirmed residential district, which includes approximately 1,115 residences and 110 commercial units. The plot comprises five residential complexes, with projects by Bjarke Ingels Group - BIG and the Greek 314 Architecture Studio among others.

Meanwhile, the Beijing-based architects of Aedas, in collaboration with Greek A&M Architects, are spearheading the sprawling Ellinikon Commercial Hub, which will become Greece's largest shopping, entertainment and business complex with an area of over 185,000 square metres. This area will be divided between work spaces, a business park, a mixed-use tower, and what will become the largest shopping centre in Greece.

Ellinikon will host as part of its public programme a cultural route to connect all 14 major cultural and archeological sites. The route, stretching 12 km over an area of 6.2 million square metres, will be open and accessible to all, with visitor seating, signage, lighting and planting. In addition, the development will feature a 3.5-metre shoreline and a 1 km beach open to all, as well as 50 km of walking and cycling paths.

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