Primary School at Pefkakia

Athens, 1931-32

Dimitris Pikionis (1887-1968)

Despite the fact that the primary school in the middle-class suburb of Neapoli is a benchmark work of Greek modernism, its creator Dimitris Pikionis disowned it with the following words: "When I finished, it did not satisfy me. And that’s when I reflected that the ecumenical spirit must be joined together with the spirit of the nation."
The building, which is located on a steep lot at the foot of Lycabettus Hill, was part of a school building programme in the 1930s. Pikionis’s main aim was to adapt the building to the natural slope of the ground, which led to an original architectural solution. The public facilities are gathered together on the highest wing on the lot, in which is the entrance porch to the complex, while the office, cafeteria and assembly hall are on the upper floor and the gymnasium outdoors. The classrooms are laid out on the side of the lot in two lateral ground floor wings in four and two modules, which follow the graded slope of the terrain and have direct access to their own outdoor schoolyards.
The harmonious synthesis of pure geometrical volumes arranged in steps surrounds the main outdoor yard which is on three levels. The treatment of the volumes is plain, with obvious influences from the Modern Movement. The façades are dominated by walls of white stucco and large wooden window frames.