6.  References to specific integrated building systems


6.1    Urbankit

The work of Dimitris Papanikolaou, in research as well as in practice, is based on the holistic approach to both the production and the usage of the built space, while includes the development of integrated building systems. It also includes projects of which the technical specifications cannot be satisfied through the conventional building methods, although they are feasible by means of existing technology. The approach of Dimitris Papanikolaou can be studied within the framework of sustainable design, of which adopts many techniques, however it is not limited there: it also adopts paradigms from the living world, which make it consistent with some current research within the framework of complex dynamic systems.

A central idea for the development of integrated building systems in the work of Dimitris Papanikolaou is the idea of the "electromechanical skeleton": this is a structural skeleton which also carries and distributes all the systems of the building, functioning as a network infrastructure. The structural elements of the electromechanical skeleton constitute the basis of a developmental process which is completed in the large scale with the formation of "urban cells". The latter are highly autonomous urban units with internal production and usage of the necessary resources.

The most complete case study that represents the approach of Dimitris Papanikolaou to the development of integrated building systems is the Athens' Olympic Village study awarder by one of the three equivalent major awards in the international contest of 2000. The general approach, as it emerges from different projects, is presented in the website http://www.urbankit.gr/, which is gradually developed as a team of engineers and collaborators of Dimitris Papanikolaou collect and organize relevant material.




Athens' Olympic Village

General View


Athens' Olympic Village

Connection of Urban Cells


Electromechanical Skeleton

Electromechanical Skeleton

Athens' Olympic Village

Bioclimatic Corridor





6.2    The ERTEK building system

ERTEK S.A. develops and promotes since 1988 an integrated building system which derived from the research of the architect Dimitris Papanikolaou. The system is based on the "semi-precast" technology (structural elements made of reinforced concrete are produced independently, then they are assembled, while concrete cast on the assembly concludes the construction). The electromechanical infrastructure of the building is routed through specific channels of the structural skeleton. The synergy, the network function, as well as the light weight of the structural elements offer verified benefits concerning both the structural and the anti-earthquake behavior of the construction.

The selective combined usage of both conventional and industrial building techniques combines low cost with high quality, as well as high variability of the construction, outperforming according to these benchmarks both conventional and prefabrication building methods. The production program is parallel, i.e. includes the execution of different building activities at the same time, which makes possible the completion of the building project in a very short time.

The most important feature of the particular building system is that it does not need industrial production, consequently it does not include the maintenance and the functional cost of a factory, while minimizes the necessary production resources. Furthermore, it does not require specialized technical personnel. Another important feature of the system is that the economy of the construction is not based on massive production, but it is also clear in small-scale projects. All these features derive from the developmental paradigm of construction.


The ERTEK building system has been applied in many building projects. ERTEK S.A. presents the system in detail, including the application know-how, in the website www.erteksystem.eu. A concise presentation is also available in the Visual Guide.



Structural skeleton


Slab Unit


Sewage installation

Underfloor heating/cooling installation