In a two-month period, That Studio transformed a 100 sq.m. apartment in Metaxourgeio Square, Athens into Global Brigades polyclinic for vulnerable populations, specialised on refugees and asylum seekers, aiming to create a safe place for patients through a low-cost, sustainable design process. 

-text by the architects 

Global Brigades Greece is located in Metaxourgeio square, a neighborhood mostly populated by migrants, both in the housing and in the business sector. It is a health care center for vulnerable populations in Athens with a special focus on refugees and asylum seekers. Three much needed specialties are provided there: Pediatrics, Ophthalmology, and Gynecology. The design brief included four practice rooms, a multi-purpose room, a storage space for the medical supplies, and a waiting area with all the needed services nearby.

This was a low-cost, sustainable and rapidly constructed project reusing specific elements that already existed in the apartment while strictly following the design guidelines of the Greek Medical Association.

The aim was to design not only a healthcare space, but a safe place in which health professionals would have the time to listen to and empathically support immigrant and refugee patients’ everyday life.

To achieve that, the architects established the following design principles: calmness, tranquility, hospitality while prioritising the need to provide safety, optimal daylight and warmth.

Natural raw materials were used such as wood, glass and an earthy color palette in order to achieve calmness. Diffused natural and artificial light softens the edges in space to enhance tranquility. We placed translucent polycarbonate panels around each medical room, hiding the private areas from view while allowing daylight to enter. Wall-recessed glass bricks were employed as an additional tool to play with natural light and give us the opportunity to define furniture as an essential architectural element in this project. Embedded seating nests were used to furnish the waiting area and welcome the patients.

Architects’ main focus was the patients’ experience and this highlighted their pathway to the project.

Facts & Credits
Project title  Global Brigades Athens
Typology  Polyclinic for vulnerable populations
Location  Metaxourgeio Square, Athens
Date  2021
Architectural practice  That Studio
Construction  Kallidomo
Photography  Konstantina Pontiki