Folding steel shutters and bullet-proof glass protect the new reception of the Belgian Embassy in Athens by Buerger Katsota Architects.
The renovated entrance foyer is open to the public by day and leads up to a reception counter and security checkpoint behind a cement panel-clad wall.
Coloured lights line the edges of the glazed facade and reflect onto blinds that fold down for privacy.
The architects won a competition in 2009 to renovate the embassy, which was originally constructed as an apartment block in the 1960s.
We've featured a few embassy buildings on Dezeen - see them all here.
Photography is by Charalambos Louizides.
Here's some extra text from Buerger Katsota Architects:
Embassy of Belgium
The Belgian Embassy in Athens is housed in the three lower levels of a prestigious, late 1960’s apartment building. The proposed scheme aims at creating a ‘Storefront’ for Belgium in the centre of Athens.
The new façade is open, transparent, interactive, as well as protective. Behind the full height, clear structural glazing with its stainless steel foldable protective screen, a lighting strip negotiates the transition between outside and inside. During after hours, the illuminated façade marks the embassy’s presence and literally render the arcade with the colours of Belgium. Technically, the entire glazing is designed to withstand acts of vandalism and security threats.
The proposed reorganization of the interiors aims at creating a welcoming, open, well defined public space to flexibly cater for various events and uses. The main elements of the proposed plan are: the front entrance area -the Vestibule- which is intended as a multifunctional public space, the second threshold, the ‘grey box’ incorporating the space for the Receptionist’s Office and the Security Portal, and the staircase area with the lift lobby.
The materials have been selected for their quality, durability, performance and elegance, with their list being purposely limited: white marble for the flooring with reference to the existing. Grey ‘Eternit’ panels for the Receptionist Area and the Security Portal, for its crispness, lightness, ready-made quality and easy assembly. Clear bullet proof glazing, for security reasons and stainless steel finishes for the architectural ironmongery for their elegance, durability and material expression.
Project description: Renovation of the Chancellery of the Belgian Embassy Athens invited competition – 1st prize
Location: Athens, Greece
Built area: 150 m²
Design team: Stephan Buerger, Demetra Katsota, Tasos Govatsos, Flavian Lekkas, Mladen Stamenic
Consultants: A P Kryfos AE (m/e engineering)
Client: Kingdom of Belgium, Federal Public Service-Foreign Affairs