Restoration of the Listed Classical Building of  ex ‘Laiki ‘(Popular) Bank  (Owner Alpha Bank) after the February 12, 2012 Arseny& Complete Destruction.

After the fire of February 12, 2012, the extreme temperatures not only ruined all architectural decorations including valuable original marble décor and intricate plasterwork, bronze lighting fixtures and all electromechanical installation and furniture, but also weakened the structural system of the only recently restored building, completed in 2008.  The need for very careful dimensional coordination based on the architect’s proposal by all teams  of collaborating engineers was mandatory as existing surviving pierced Pendelic marble under restoration did not allow for expansion of the width of the marble columns beyond circa 1cm on each side. Furthermore for aesthetic reasons all gypsum detailing could not expand in size by a bare, well controlled minimum. This set the tone  for the complete redesign of all visible marble and gypsum decoration , throughout the main completely destroyed section of the building. Furthermore the first floor main administration spaces though saved from direct devastation by the fire  required complete re-decoration and restoration due to change in dimensions by  need for lateral enhancement of the structural system. This also applied to the basement floor which was completely re-designed with multi-coloured white marble and red-porphyry veneer to counter-balance the expanded in size structural system which needed significant widening at this level. Serious discrepancies of the structural system of the building that had not been remedied by the  previous restoration, as no weakening was then evident to convince the owners for the necessity, were now remedied with very precise solutions at each point.

Besides the very intricate design-work and presentation to also convince the authorities to trust the design team and not intervene further causing additional delays, beyond the usual lengthy  building permit process, as well as the appropriate detailed construction documentation to ensure appropriate bidding at minimal cost for the owners at a time of major economic crisis for the country, the pressing needs for housing the bank’s personnel that was displaced by destruction caused by fire in two central locations simultaneously, lead to further difficulties regarding pressed timing and piece meal implementation. Some spaces, less seriously damaged were not only completed early-on, within a few months after the fire, but were also designed for the first time in a consistent with the building proper classical style as existing original finishes were either completely lacking or altered, bearing simplistic pseudo-classical detailing of the post-war years. This involved most spaces of the 2nd, 3rd and 4th floor of the building, that had not already been converted into modern-working areas.

This was a very challenging restoration project after complete devastation with need for re-design and coordination of every conceivable detail, executed with constrained budget, from an excellent team of collaborating engineers, F.Tsoulos as structural engineer, D.Athanasecos-I.Printatco for electro-mechanical installations, and ACTOR, most efficient general contractor hired by the owners after competitive-bidding, ensuring efficient and timely completion.

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