Sotiria Sanitorium
Today the Regional General Chest Disease Hospital of Athens

152 Mesogeion Ave, 1932-37

Ioannis Despotopoulos (Jan Despo, 1903-1992)

This work by Ioannis Despotopoulos, architect and professor, who was a student of Walter Gropius in Weimar, was the first application of the social-centred ideology of the Bauhaus to health facilities in interwar Athens.
"Sotiria" was designed as a 420-bed hospital for the treatment of tuberculosis, and was a groundbreaking effort in terms of approaching all dimensions of the architectural problem: functional, social, technological, aesthetic and psychological, that have to do with the relations between health care providers and patients, and the latter’s particular psychological problems…
The building consists of six independent departments that are arranged freely and asymmetrically In its initial state, the complex included the following facilities: (a) 42 wards of 10 beds each which were distributed among the three floors of the oblong southeast wing, with the critically ill separated from the rest; (b) four refectories located in a small curved wing that communicates with the section containing the rooms through two two-storey corridors on pilotis; (c) small halls for assembling and occupying the patients on each floor and one large hall for meeting and refreshment in an independent wing with pilotis located on the north east side of the complex, (d) balconies for patients’ fresh air therapy with a southern orientation for winter and northern for summer, (e) a wing for out-patients’ clinics on the southwest corner, (f) accommodation for the staff to sleep on the fourth floor and (g) areas for the electrical and mechanical installations in the semi-basement.
The synthesis of the volumes in the complex, which expresses clearly its functional organisation, is characterised by dynamism, plasticity and fine proportions. The façades are simple and dominated by their modern wooden door and window frames.
After World War II and the elimination of tuberculosis, the complex was subject to many internal adjustments, which did not alter its exterior fundamentally.