05 April, 2012
Concrete production plant reformation
From the worksite to the ecological research.
From the worksite to the ecological research.
The subject of this project is the reformation of a concrete production plant and the design, of a research center - that will conduct theoretical and practical research in the field of environmental friendly building materials - in it.
Research activity in Greece - Character of the suggested use
Research in Greece is carried out mostly by public institutions or by the Academic and Technological Institutions of the country and is supported by public or European funds. A small percentage is carried out by private institutions which exploit the scientific results. The biggest intensity of research is noted in Crete and in Athens.
Despite the fact that there are many institutions in Greece conducting individually research on environmental issues or materials, there is no public institution officially carrying out systematic research on eco‐friendly materials and construction. The suggested project aims to the creation of a research center that would:
‐ carry out applied research on eco ‐ friendly materials, theoretical research on life cycle analysis of buildings and materials and research on software to support the above research activities.
‐ collaborate with and support the needs of other academic institutions and research centers by employing, apart from the main research scientists, master and phD students.
‐ provide services in public and private institutions and the EU.
‐ take care of the diffusion of the scientific results through publications, exhibitions and conferences.
The selected site is an abandoned concrete production plant, in the east suburbs of Athens, adjacent to the two largest universities of the capital (National Technical University, National and Kapodistrian University) at an area where functions of regional importance are gathered. The site has an entrance on Katehaki Avenue.
A dynamic course is set as main concept of the solution, passing through the suggested center and connecting the two institutions.
The aims of the intervention are:
‐ Reformation of the existing worksite and rehabilitation of the natural landscape.
‐ Connection of the two academic institutions, suppression of the existing boundaries and revitalization of the area between them which remains degraded.
‐ Integration of the suggested center in the existing network of paths so that it can function as a node between the two universities.
The concrete plant - park
Some of the existing structures of the site are maintained, while the qualities of space they offer are developed abstractively through the proposal. The structures that are maintained are:
‐ The retaining wall as a core, offering a sence of introversion and embrace
‐ Inspired by the materials flow "platform": views, full and empty space
‐ The columns tha carried the concrete silos, offering a sence of verticality.
‐ The water reservoir where the equipment was being washed.
In addition to the remaining structures, a new crooked dynamic course is designed, in contraposition with the smooth traced existing paths, following abstractively the concrete΄s production line and reminding the «scar» on the natural landscape. It's geometry is defined by multiple factors such as functional factors (elevation, altimetry, orientation to the south in relationship with the designed surrounding buildings)the existing structures and the optical impressions created along the course.
The crooked course is framed by vertical interactive exhibition walls and horizontal surfaces, forming an interactive park of public awareness on eco‐friendly materials and construction. In the heart of the old plant the course intersects with the wall and the horizontal surfaces are elevated, forming the research center, a light and discreet construction.
The existing entrance on Katehaki avenue is used for the road access to the building while a perimetric road axis with parking, connecting the two universities is formed.
The rehabilitation of the natural landscape is finally succeeded through planting of endemic plants, like lentiscs, oleasters, yews and aleppo pines. Rainwater is collected on roofs, along the course and on the reservoirs mentioned above, ensuring the irrigation of the green.
The character of the building emerges from the special features of the site. Functions are divided in two unities. The main core, consisting of the common areas is situated next to the main entrance, under the platform, while administration and laboratories are located in two two‐storied volumes cutting across the platform element. A quiet environment, with city views, in direct relation with nature is desired for the north-oriented laboratories. They are designed for large research teams, with two‐storied common spaces in the middle (open space offices ‐ library ‐ lounge), in order to reinforce users social interaction and collaboration.
The basic course crosses open spaces with various qualities, considered to be a basic element of the composition. Outside walkers and visitors have a close optical contact with the interior of the building ‐ a constant "challenge" to explore the research center.
Construction system - materials
Basic aim of the design was to ensure the reversibility of the construction by designing a lightweight metal structure, using armed concrete only for the elements in direct relation to the ground and eco‐friendly materials with large heat capacity for the rest of the building, to minimize the energy consumption.
A bioclimatic approach is being intended in the design allowing the optimal use of natural resources (solar energy ‐ air ‐ rainwater): narrow volumes with optimal orientation and inclined roofs for appropriate ventilation and lightning, large glazings with louvers to the south facades and more compact surfaces to the north, rainwater collection on roofs and along the course.
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