Aiming for versatility
Athens, GR; New York, US

PILA is an architecture studio based in Athens and New York that creates environments for culture, working, and living around the world. Founded in 2019 by Ilias Papageorgiou and Christina Papalexandri, PILA brings substantial previous experience to the table while building lasting spaces, drawing upon material and immaterial contexts through a highly collaborative and iterative process.


A post-crisis urban environment

Although we have known each other for many years we decided to practice together recently, a couple of years ago. Before setting up PILA we were living in New York, Ilias was a partner at SO-IL and Christina was working at 2x4. We decided to set up a base here in Athens. After a long financial crisis,  there is now an increasingly optimistic climate here and a strong desire to rethink the physical environment. We were interested in being part of this new chapter of the city. 


Navigating the pandemic complexities

As we type our responses we find ourselves at home in the middle of the pandemic outbreak. This new reality has completely disrupted our daily routine blurring the boundaries between our private lives and work.  Maybe this condition has helped us to appreciate even more our previous routine and the value of engaging in various activities during the day! So, during normal times our routine was quite normal: starting early (not always very early) and participating in various meetings during the day. We like long design meetings so we try to make space for those almost every day. 


A flexible space in an old quarter of Athens 

Our studio is located in Psirri in the downtown of Athens, within the historic center. It is a low rise neighbourhood at the heart of downtown Athens relatively quiet during the day. It allows us to focus but also to be at the heart of the city.  The organisation of our office reflects the way we work as designers. We are on two floors, with the first one being an open plan workspace and the second one divided into a meeting room and other private desks. We find it useful to be able to quickly transition between collaborative creative activities to more focused tasks. 


Aiming for versatility 

One thing we wanted to avoid from the beginning was to become specialised in only one specific area of work. The reality is quite complex, and strict programmatic divisions become less relevant so we find it fascinating to be able to jump between different scales and programs. At the moment we are fortunate to be working simultaneously on an apartment/artist residency in downtown Athens, the redesign of the facade of an iconic tower and a mixed use urban regeneration project in Paris among others. 


Looking ahead

Although both Christina and myself bring substantial experience from our previous positions, PILA is a new entity founded in 2019. We made a strong start by winning a couple of important competitions and started working with few interesting private clients our first year of operation. For the immediate future we are focusing on executing those projects well and looking carefully at our practice in terms of the areas of our interest and also improving our working processes. 


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Photography Courtesy of PILA

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