Sustainable luxury for first skyscraper in Greece

Artist's impression of exterior of Riviera Tower, with greenery on open curved balconies and central pool on each floor.
Image: DBOX for Foster + Partners – Riviera Tower

Set to become the first skyscraper in Greece, the residential Riviera Tower will form a defining high-rise landmark of The Ellinikon, the largest and most ambitious urban regeneration project in Europe.

The Ellinikon is billed as a new global model for smart cities and comprehensive, mixed-use urban experiences. It will be built on the site of the former Ellinikon International Airport, which was decommissioned in 2001 and has been vacant since the site housed temporary facilities during the 2004 Summer Olympic Games.

The project will be operationally net zero carbon at opening and carbon neutral by 2055.

The developer behind The Ellinikon, LAMDA Development has recently completed a share agreement with a Greece-based renewable energy company, with plans to install photovoltaic panels on the rooftops of all its buildings. Additionally, renewable power plants will be created specifically for The Ellinikon, meaning the energy will be sourced without diverting any from Greece’s national grid.

The big story on The Ellinikon, though, is really all about the green space.

Doubling the green space in Athens

Image of Experience Park at Sunset.
Image: Dimitris Spyrou.

The green space at the heart of the project, The Ellinikon Metropolitan Park, will be Europe’s largest coastal park at over 600 acres. The overall aim is for it to revolutionise the role that parks play in new and existing cities, particularly as connective spaces that utilise smart technology to set precedents for ecological restoration.

In contrast to other European cities, which average roughly 40% public green space, Athens currently offers only about 10%. The Ellinikon will almost double that number, providing a much-needed destination for recreation, outdoor gathering, and immersion in the landscape. It is also linked by public transit to serve the larger region.

Crucially, ecological restoration is a primary objective on The Ellinikon, with over one million plants sourced from within Greece and specifically selected to increase biodiversity and establish a regenerative landscape strategy for region.

With an international development team that includes the likes of Sasaki, ARUP, Doxiadis, Atelier10, Fluidity and Langan, environmentally conscious design and engineering is a core sustainability component at The Ellinikon.

From concrete runways to tree-lined walkways

Artist's impression of The Ellinikon Coastal front, with beach and sea to the right, new development and greenspace to the left.

The figures for restorative green and amenity space tell the tale of the project ambition:

  • In total, The Ellinikon will be 600 acres upon completion and promote restorative landscape design for increased green space made up of repurposed already-developed land;
  • Some 70% of the park uses natural areas management techniques to demonstrate Greek landscape restoration, with the remaining 30% focusing on high interaction areas;
  • Green areas will provide the added benefit of carbon sequestration and bridge the gap between the low proportion of 10% green space currently in Athens and the 40% typical in other European cities;
  • This greening will increase the allocation of open space per Athenian resident by 44%;
  • The park will include over 86 different tree species, plus over one million new plants – all sourced directly from within Greece, with 70% native to the region and not requiring additional irrigation;
  • The carbon neutral development will be entirely self-sufficient with respect to irrigation and electricity, covering its own needs and completely offsetting its carbon footprint;
  • The project will also contribute greatly to reversing the 70:30 concrete-to-greenery ratio in Athens, ultimately resulting in The Ellinikon consisting of 70% green spaces;
  • In all, 309,140 square feet of concrete from the existing airport runways and tarmac will ultimately be reused throughout the park, boosting circularity in construction;
  • As regards amenity, recreation and green mobility, individual developments on The Ellinikon will be connected to the retail district and other areas through a network of 50km of walkways, 30km of cycle lanes, and EV facilities throughout.

50 floors of luxury and sustainability

Artist's impression of interior of luxury apartment in Riviera Tower, with pair of club seats and table in middle, looking out to sea over infinity pool.

Designed by globally renowned architectural firm Foster + Partners, the Riviera Tower itself will sit 200 metres above sea level, comprising 169 one- to five-bedroom residences and penthouse apartments across 50 residential floors.

The building has been conceived to reflect the history of The Ellinikon and its natural surroundings by the sea, wrapped in an advanced biophilic exterior. It also features interiors inspired by the beautiful landscape and styled to offer the latest in sustainable design, with natural colour palettes employed throughout the apartments.

Building skywards to free up landscape below

Artist's impression of the 50-storey Riviera Tower, pictured from across the water against the early evening sky.

The height of the tower scheme not only heralds a confident new era for the built environment in Greece, but also offers environmental sustainability benefits in terms of economical land use, says Angeliki Touziou, Chief Development Officer, Residential Sports & MUT, Lamda Development:

Taller buildings reduce surface coverage, resulting in more space for the green, open areas that The Ellinikon is committed to bring to the people of this city. As we continue to hold environmental protection and energy reduction at the forefront of our goals, the Riviera Tower and The Ellinikon’s additional high-rise towers will benefit the environment through smart urban densification and accompanying greenspace.”

Strong advance sales build the business case

Artist's impression of interior of apartment in 50-storey Riviera Tower, in whites and biscuit colours, looking out across the water for balcony on left.

The response from the market has been very positive, building the business case, adds Alexandros Moulas, Senior Commercial Director, Residential & Neighborhood Retail, Lamda Development:

“The Riviera Tower’s significance to The Ellinikon has been reflected in its extraordinary early sales success, with over 90% of the building already reserved by domestic and international buyers in record time.” 

Construction began on The Riviera Tower earlier this year. The building is due to be completed during Phase 1 of The Ellinikon project, with handover expected in the first quarter of 2026. The Riviera Tower is the first residential building in the city to be pre-certified to Gold Level on the LEED rating system.

A joint venture between Bouygues Group and Intrakat has been set up for the early building works. Tombazis and Associates has been appointed as the local design consultant, alongside an international team consisting of Buro Happold, Faithful+Gould, TEKEM, Deta Consulting Engineers, and Doxiadis Plus. A joint venture between Mace and Jacobs serves as the Riviera Tower Project Management Consultant. 

Budget of €8 billion is biggest in Greece

Listed on the Main Market of the Athens Exchange (ATHEX), LAMDA Development is a holding company specialising in the development, investment and management of real estate. The majority stake in the company is held by the Latsis Group.

LAMDA Development has undertaken the complete urban regeneration of the Ellinikon-Agios Kosmas Metropolitan Pole, including the area of the former international airport and the coastal front. With an estimated project budget of €8 billion, this is set to become the largest private investment in Greece and one of the biggest urban regeneration projects in Europe.

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