Piraeus Tower

13 November, 2010

Nikos Kalogirou. PIRAEUS TOWER 2010

Notes on the 6 finalists

by Gratv

Greek version

video interiview (only in Greek edition)

The project 311 is a particularly pertinent experimental approach for the abandoned tower at the port of Piraeus, which with minimal means succeeds a ‘utopic' architectural composition. The water element is transferred with an alternative way to the land, in the form of a giant jet. This utopic approach annihilates the tall building in the landscape of the Attic sky. Moreover, the proposal features a strong poetic dimension, which is communicated successfully by the project's representation documents. The views to the sea from the interior of the building are filtered by the water cascades on the facades. At the same time, the ‘blurred' image of the tower from the surrounding urban space and the port creates an intriguing unexpected public space within the dull urban tissue, re-inventing the tower as a new ‘fluid' icon for the port.
Despite the evident difficulties of implementation, the project challenges the urban fantasy and in the framework of an architectural ideas' competition I propose it for the first prize.

This experimental project succeeds an interesting insertion of the building in the urban landscape of the Piraeus port and presents substantial aesthetic and synthetic virtues. The ‘fluid' limits of the building's outline contribute on one hand to a sense of lightness of the massive structure of the tower and on the other hand to the creation of a variable image of the building- phenomenally, according to the different perspectives of the viewer and literally, according to the oscillations of the dense flexible ‘wind-scrapers'. The layering of the façade with the creation of an in-between zone between the glass envelope and the flexible elements is one more interesting point of the project. In regards to the practical implementation of the system of ‘wind-scrapers', the design is elementary which is though justified in the framework of an ideas competition. Nevertheless, it could constitute a radical idea for further research of the geometry, materiality, technological implementation and energy production matters. For all the reasons mentioned above, I believe that there is an architectural vision, innovation and strong aesthetic and environmental intent in the project 110 and I thus propose to award to it the second prize of the competition.

The project re-negotiates the geometry and materiality of the tower, with the interpolation of vegetation gardens as ‘parasite' elements and the use of lighting as a variable responsive device of design. The vegetation ‘islands' rupture in an interesting manner the building mass, introducing the natural element in the vertical organization of the tower. Simultaneously, they create unexpected public spaces on multiple levels with pleasant shading conditions. The double skin sets the preconditions for natural cooling and ventilation of the building. The use of other elements of environmental design, such as wind turbines on the roof, is not very convincing as they are not incorporated organically in the architectural design. I propose the award of the third prize of the competition to the project 182.

The project attempts to generate a ‘green' building envelope. The folding of a continuous ‘deep' surface, receives the vegetation on the facades of the building in an interesting though evident way. The topology of the folding refers to biological patterns, without succeeding though to ‘biologically' adapt to variable programmatic and environmental conditions.
The repetition of the design finding of the ‘vegetal folding' across all facades and the base of the tower - in the vertical direction-, seems to be mechanical and diminishes its potential synthetic and ‘ecological' value. I propose the project 293 for the first honor award.

The interesting point of the proposal is the organization of facades through a system of repetitive foldable components. The transformable surface of the components, seeks to control the natural lighting, blocking though the views to the sea.
The shading component is multiplied across the four facades, with a vertical variation of a chromatic gradient. The resulting distinct articulation of the facades justifies the proposal of the project for the second honor award.

The rigid geometric organization of the facades and the combination of contemporary and traditional luxurious cladding materials, seek to render a luxurious ‘life style' aesthetic that does not meet the scope of a visionary architectural ideas' competition. Nevertheless, the overall geometric configuration is characterized by an elegant regularity with variations that justifies the third honor award for the project 656.

Nikos Kalogirou

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