The Ellinikon International Airport in Athens has stood vacant for nearly two decades since the construction of the Athens International Airport, slowly dilapidating on what is otherwise prime real estate on the Saronic Gulf of the Aegean Sea. In the intervening years, a growing chorus of politicians and residents have called for the conversion of the approximately 32-million-square-foot site into public parkland. To that effect, Foster + Partners was awarded the comprehensive master plan for the area in 2013, and on July 7 released renderings and further information as to what that reclaimed land may look like—principally, that it will contain the Marina Tower, the tallest building in Greece.
The massive project is being funded by Lamda Development and it will include the construction of mixed-use districts as well as six new skyscrapers. Marina Tower, located at the center of the development, is the largest of the group, coming in at 650-feet-tall and slated to be the tallest tower in Greece. In renderings, the tower is depicted as a slender high-rise ringed with undulating balconies and hanging gardens. It is described by Foster + Partners as incorporating state-of-the-art environmental practices and safety protocols, as well as smart building technology, though the exact details of what that entails are yet to be released. Further development within the master plan will be spread out over a number of curved tree-lined boulevards, though, again, the precise number of units or buildings has not yet been confirmed.
“Ellinikon masterplan gives new direction to urban development in Athens, bringing together new ways of living, working and playing, centered on a metropolitan park – a generous amenity for local communities and the city of Athens,” said Foster + Partners senior partner Antoinette Nassopoulos-Erickson in a press release. “Our proposals for Marina Residential Tower build on these sustainable principles to generate a new paradigm for high-rise living and a green beacon in the landscape.”
Athens is known for many things; the birthplace of democracy, an abundance of intact ruins dating from antiquity, and a lively cosmopolitan scene. But, it is not necessarily revered for its green space, and that is where the Ellinikon Master Plan could be truly transformative. According to Foster + Partners, the metropolitan park is projected to increase the amount of accessible open space per Athenian by approximately 44 percent. The park will also incorporate a number of softscaping features to collect rainwater, which will then be recycled for use across the development.
The developers and city officials also hope that the rolling bucolic and beachfront park will become a tourist and commercial destination in its own right to rival global peers such as New York’s Central Park or Hyde Park in London. There is still plenty of work to be done, and the project is expected to be open sometime in 2026.