19 June, 2011

[υνκ]-Hubris Nemesis Katharsis

Urban Rehabilitation Skyscraper in Athens.

By Alexios Vandoros

Greek version



‘'Hubris Nemesis Katharsis‘' is a multi - storey rehabilitation space situated in Omonoia square Athens which aims to the urban regeneration of one of the most socially segregated areas in the centre of the city. Omonoia (ομόνοια) is translated as unity, concord and harmony, notions that are completely unavailable in this area, which is dominated by drug addicts, prostitution, illegal immigration, illegal trading and criminality.

Omonoia square is part of the historical triangle, designed by Kleanthis - Schaubert in 1832 and can be characterized as one of the most important public spaces and intersections in central Athens up until today. The rapid flow of the population towards the suburbs in addition to the absence or the incapability of proposing urban strategies for the centre of Athens has led it to become a ghetto-like area.

Facing the challenge of the era, the proposed solution is a skyscraper that will target to the social reactivation of drug addicts, prostitutes and immigrants resulting at the same time and to the gentrification of the surrounding area. It will consist of three parts which will be translated socially as well as spatially. The vertical growth of the proposed building is not only a design choice, but a necessity due to the heavily fragmented urban fabric of Athens. The three volumes of the building envelope are consistent to a three phase rehabilitation procedure linked to the structure of the ancient Greek tragedy. Therefore, Hubris, Nemesis and Catharsis become the inspiration and at the same time the main entities of the proposal. As in the ancient drama, the main character commits a "sin" [hubris] and therefore is being assigned a punishment [nemesis] which consequently leads to its emotional "purging" [catharsis]. The direct metaphor of this "parodos" in the proposed case is initially the attraction of individuals from the problematic groups through offered goods, such as free distribution of syringes and drug substitutes as well as shelter for controlled prostitution with the presupposition that this procedure will be continued to the next level, the one of Nemesis. At the same time, Hubris will organize the illegal trading by hosting the wandering "merchants" underneath the building (public space) or inside it. In Nemesis drug addicts will enter a detoxification program and prostitutes will be submitted to medical examinations in order to assure their safety as far as health and hygiene is concerned. The last phase aims to the mental catharsis and represents the point where one has expelled his constraints and is being rewarded for his inner strength. This includes the provision of shelter and work as well as the opportunity to contribute as guides to the rehabilitation program.

In order to support and reinforce the main concept, three volumes and a neural structural system define the final form. The volumes are situated in a way that enables the communication and circulation amongst them. Hubris, the lower volume, is in direct co-relation with the public space of the square in order to be easily accessible. The square is now accessible by multiple spots as the roads have been transferred underground combined with the existing subway network. Nemesis is situated in the middle part of the skyscraper volume hosting both the "patients" and the illegal immigrants seeking regularization. The meta-phasis between the ultimate sin and the ultimate salvation [catharsis] is positioned at the higher level, oriented towards the Acropolis. This volume provides accommodation and work to the rehabilitees that have completed the process.

The total height of the skyscraper is 122 m, the cost will be great in terms of construction but it will be recovered by the funds saved through the gentrification of these problematic, in economical terms, matters.

The proposed skyscraper tries to manage and take in account the special climate of Greece. The building envelope drives natural sunlight and passive ventilation through a customizable perforation which is organized always in relation to the hosted spatial occupation. In relation to this, a network of "green" spaces is created in the majority of the building's volume connected even through thin lines of planted space on the structural elements. The perforation and the arrangement of the building's openings were designed through programming and scripting. More specifically, the neural structural system emerged from an algorithmic process that simulates natural systems' growth, by collecting data from the structural analysis of the building envelope in a constant feedback loop. The exact procedure is being applied to each of the structural columns-neurons making the entire proposal an entity with anisotropic characteristics.



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Marios Tsiliakos, Maria - Silena Patsalidou  

Marios Tsiliakos is an Architect specialized in Computational Design. He gained a Diploma in Architecture from the National Technical University of Athens and a MSc in Adaptive Architecture & Computation from the Bartlett School of Architecture in London. His personal research focuses on generative self-organizational systems and on non-linear algorithmic design processes, as well as in the synergetic approach between material systems science and digital design. His work and research is published in many conferences and international competitions like the Europrix Multimedia Festival. Currently he is working as a freelance architect, while maintaining his personal blog on matters regarding Computational Design. More Info at  ://

Maria - Silena Patsalidou is a student of Architecture at the National Technical University of Athens working towards her Diploma in Architectural Design. She is currently occupied on a research project regarding the un-built and sensations through design.


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