Placebo Pharmacy by KLab Architecture


Placebo Pharmacy by Atelier Tekuto

Greek studio KLab Architecture created this pharmacy in Athens by wrapping a round facade punctured by Braille lettering over the existing octagonal building, with plants occupying the space in between.

Placebo Pharmacy by Atelier Tekuto

The two levels of the Placebo Pharmacy are linked by a long ramp that curls round one side of the circular plan.

Placebo Pharmacy by Atelier Tekuto

A shop and dispensing chemist are housed on the ground floor with offices and a surgery for visiting practitioners above.

Placebo Pharmacy by Atelier Tekuto

Bespoke display cabinets in the shop downstairs radiate outwards from a central cash desk.

Placebo Pharmacy by Atelier Tekuto

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Placebo Pharmacy by Atelier Tekuto

Photographs are by P. Kokkinias.

Placebo Pharmacy by Atelier Tekuto

The information below is from the designers:

The design process for this large (600m2) super-local pharmacy forced us to shift our viewpoint and come up with a virtual building—a placebo pharmacy. The octagonal shape of the existing structure was re-formed into a cylinder in order to create a spiral which seeks to converse with the rapid motion on Vouliagmenis Avenue, the urban artery on which the building stands.

Placebo Pharmacy by Atelier Tekuto

The panels of the façade are perforated using Braille, which both alludes to the system’s use on pharmaceutical packaging and boosts visibility by allowing the light to find its way into the interior. The new facade also protects the interior while acting as a lure for passers-by. Inside, the product display mirrors the circular frontage, while a ramp up to the upper level extends the dynamism of the exterior spiral into the interior space.

Placebo Pharmacy by Atelier Tekuto

The Pharmacy is arranged over two floors, the ground floor being the primary shop space with the upper mezzanine floor consisting of ancillary office space used as a temporary surgery for visiting health professionals.

Placebo Pharmacy by Atelier Tekuto

The pharmacy is arranged in plan in a radial pattern with the main cashiers desk acting as the focal point. The product displays fan out from this focal point giving the cashier the ability to view the whole pharmacy from this central area. The drug dispensary, preparation areas and toilets are also arranged off this radial pattern. This pattern gives a natural flow to the space and allows light deep into the center of the plan at all times throughout the day.

Placebo Pharmacy by Atelier Tekuto

Principal architect: Konstantinos Labrinopoulos
Façade artistic implementation: Xara Marantidou
Design team: Enrique Ramirez, Mark Chapman, Kostis Anagnostakis
Images credit: P. Kokkinias

Placebo Pharmacy by Atelier Tekuto

  • Am I the only one curious about what the braille 'text' in the facade actually says? ;)

    • yuc

      recipes, perhaps…

    • shyra

      ask a blind person with huge hands.

  • Perrine Montfort

    I don't know if it is depressing because it is a pharmacy or because of the artificial lights and reflection of the floor

  • joseppi

    this is in poor taste, but i think braille in the facade is ironic

  • fjrshnnt

    eeee i saw one like this in shanghai expo 2010.

  • Hercule Poirot

    What's in a name. Placebo : effects without substance.

  • Ebru Kandilci

    thats really impressive…a new approach to also curious about the text on the facade…

  • Anon

    puts my neighborhood CVS to shame.
    greece has some pretty impressive small-scale architecture all over the place.

  • edward44

    Does the shocking profit margins on pharmaceutics extend to retail as well. This is a really lavish use of space. But looks great!

  • Onelab

    Too bad there are no plans or sections. This would help more in understanding the building. Using braille in the facade just because there is braille on the medicines is farfetched. It could just as easy have been the barcodes on the medicines or the brand names.The last one would actually have been fun! A reference to branding you see on the facades of clothing stores. Too bad that a lot of architects or photographers think that a building looks better without their users in it. In all an ok building but trying a litle bit too much to be hip.

  • Nuno

    could be nice…. but look too much similar to the BIG projet (denmark pavillion at Shangai Expo)….

  • this is contemporary retail design!