The Athens Olympic Village

The Athens Olympic Village

The design of the Athens Olympic Village is profoundly human-centred, as its aim was to provide maximum accessibility for persons with mobility problems, as well as to highlight our cultural heritage in an environment-friendly manner.

During the Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2004, the strictest “judges” were accommodated on the Olympic Village premises: some 17,500 and 4,500 athletes and members of the Olympic and Paralympic family. It succeeded in gaining global recognition for its exemplary hospitality and mode of operation. The strong combination of contemporary residential development and respect for the environment, proved that the Olympic Village, was one of the most essential factors in the success of the Games.

The building process of the Olympic Village was accompanied by a large number of infrastructure works that ensure its sound operation and a high standard of living for its residents. In this regard, the Olympic Village has:

► A natural gas network connected to all independent apartments
► Water supply, sewerage and flood prevention networks.
► An irrigation network that  uses water from wells bored on the Olympic Village site
► An underground network of optical fibre telephone lines, with the capacity to transfer electronic data rapidly
► Internal road network with complete markings and signage
► Underground network of lighting for streets and the surrounding area
► Underground cable television network.

The country that gave birth to the Games acquired its own Olympic Village, in the northwest part of Athens. It is a site with a special history, integrally linked with supplying water to the Greek capital by means of Hadrian’s Aqueduct.

For centuries, Hadrian’s Aqueduct was a work of vital importance for Athens. Its construction was initiated by the Roman emperor Hadrian in 125 AD, and was completed in 140 AD. It started in the region of the Helidonou ravine and ended at Dexameni area, just below Lycabettus. During the period of Turkish rule, the aqueduct fell into disuse. In 1856, there were many systematic efforts, in order to   put it back into operation. In 1879, in the north part of the main tunnel, a duct was discovered, which was oriented toward the northwest, and which went as far as the -dilapidated at that time- Dimoglis home on the Acharnes plain. South of this house there was a number of small auxiliary wells in the direction of the Menidi olive grove. In 1900-1901, under mayor Spyros Mercouris, Hadrian’s Aqueduct was cleared on a total length of 15 km from the site of   Dimogli’s Estate and its north side was extended, a project that was completed in 1904. The capital “had been quenching its thirst” from this aqueduct until the early 1930s. As a token of respect for the historic nature of the region, it was decided to restore the findings from Hadrian’s Aqueduct, which adorns the public spaces of the Olympic Village.

Today, the Olympic Village comprises a new urban complex, with full and complete infrastructure to meet the housing and community needs of 11,500 citizens.

This new town (total land surface 1,240,000 sq.m., total length/width 2,090 m/766 m, indoor hall 3,000 sq.m., outdoor sporting facilities 30,000 sq.m.) includes 2,292 apartments, 879 of which required some adaptation works after the Games. A total of 366 apartment complexes were built covering a surface of 254,000  sq.m. above the ground and 86,000 sq.m. of basements. The avoidance of uniformity and satisfaction of the operating requirements necessitated the building of 19 different types of apartments.
All apartments have an area ranging between 84 and 115 sq. m., with two or three bedrooms, two bathrooms, spacious living rooms, large verandas, a basement storeroom and one parking space.

Nasos Valavanes