Piraeus Tower


06 May, 2011


Ιn order to evaluate the significant number of entries submitted to the Competition the following criteria were adopted , as a combination of the general guidelines with some additional parameters which were considered important for the specific design problem.

Greek version

Ιn order to evaluate the significant number of  entries submitted to the Competition the following criteria were adopted , as a combination of the general guidelines with some additional parameters which were considered important for the specific design problem :

1) Integration and relation of the proposal to the city of Piraeus and its history
2) Reference to the port of Piraeus, the sea and the maritime world in general
3)   Sustainability and energy efficiency
4) Adaptability of the tower's skin to the changes of time (day- night, seasonal etc.)
5) Feasibility and economy of the structure ,ease of maintenance
6)   Symbolic role of the proposal as an important landmark etc.
7)   Adaptability, suitability for an eventual re-use of the building

The first three of the above were considered to be more important and strongly influential on the sixth.

25 entries ( of the 69 initially selected by the jury)  were evaluated to respond with greater or lesser success to some or all the criteria and were graded with 1-8 grades in phase A'.

8 of the above entries were collectively selected among the top 12 in phase B' (of which 5 among the first 6), however the emphasis given from the combined result of the choices of all the judges is in some cases quite different  ,as it is reflected in the grading.

In my opinion a number of interesting entries, among which some that could claim top positions, were unfortunately not included in the twelve finalists .To be more precise I could indicatively mention entries no 167, 694, 300, 330, 237, 198, 287, 474, 639.

In what follows, the first six proposals are evaluated as a distinct group formed by the voting procedure, on the basis of the above criteria and the comparative success of each project to meet them.


ENTRY 656 - 1st PRIZE
The proposal manages to establish a dialogue with the past and present of Architecture and the built environment in Greece, through a moderate and clearly organized double -skin facade , which also guaranties important environmental benefits for the building.

The interaction with the harbor and the element of the sea is achieved indirectly, through the Ippodamian semi-reflective and translucent exterior skin.

The intervention is economically realistic and feasible both in terms of construction and maintenance.

Its symbolic meaning lays on the associations produced by its aesthetic and material structure, while its suitability to an eventual re-use of the building is   satisfactory, though the total window surface is significantly reduced.



The proposal aims at creating the illusion of a" vision" of the abandoned building, by covering it with a light, vibrating "velum".

Its integration to the surrounding context is attempted at the aesthetic level mostly, through the lightening of its mass and the transparency and mobility of its envelope.

Its interaction with the harbor is treated indirectly through the 'living" influence of the winds on its structure, a fact which allows its adjustment to the temporal fluctuations of their speed and direction.

The symbolic strength of the project consists mainly of the dialogue between old and new through the proposed "aura" of the phantom- building and its interplay with the power of the wind.

The structure may pleasantly accompany the building in case of its re-use, by creating interesting, soft variations of light and shadow in its interior space.

However, the feasibility and economy of construction and maintenance, as well as the environmental performance of the proposal are questioned.

Furthermore, several of the interesting ideas put forward (sound, motion, energy) are not documented by solutions concerning their feasibility and the handling of practical problems such as the support of the 4.00m long rods, the access to the 'leaves", the control of their vibrations so as to avoid an excessive waving which would be inappropriate for a landmark building, the environmental performance of the "leaves" etc.


The project aims at the creation of a "green and healthy "building, to become a landmark of the city and its harbor.

Its transformation to a voluminous greenhouse organism is attempted, in which fire-escapes, vegetated areas, sitting and circulation zones and large covered niches are incorporated.

The building is thus accompanied by an impressive envelope which may during night time change different faces, depending on the lighting, while  being characterized by a rather self-standing introversion and an extrovert tendency to impress.

The proposed structure is considered to substantially contribute to the tower's sustainable behavior, while increasing significantly the total building and maintenance cost.

The symbolic meaning of the proposal is the impressive projection of an autonomous organism of environmental character, which is though not quite related to its environment. The project would enrich a potential regeneration of the building.


The proposal attempts to respond to the complexity of the competition's problem with the adoption of a typical, repetitive unit, a folding" umbrella" which, multiplied about 650 times, covers the four elevations of the building uniformly.

A dialogue with the city, the harbor and their history is not directly pursued, but only through the form of the umbrella which may be related metaphorically to that of a sail.

The continuous adjustment of the former to the variations of the sunlight and its angles, guarantees the adequate function of the structure for the control of insulation, thus covering a substantial part of its bioclimatic behavior.

The continuous change of the facades according to the sun's motion, leads to the creation of a living, heliocentric  character, which in turn offers a respective symbolic dimension to the project .It may therefore have been more convincing if it were differentiated in the treatment of the less exposed to the sun sides of the building.

The matter of the economy of the structure and its ease of maintenance raises some questions, particularly in the reality of construction in Greece and the climatic conditions of the harbor . Reservations may also be expressed with respect to the handling of wind pressure caused by the substantial surface of the umbrellas ( about 4,00x4,00m.)

The proposal is generally compatible with an eventual re-use of the building.


The project proposes the transformation of the tower into a sequence of juxtaposed "hanging" vertical and horizontal gardens, with obvious environmental benefits.

The "organic" nature of the proposal is emphasized with the use of vegetal formations, while its connection to the surrounding context is achieved with the creation of an open passage at the building's base.

The resulting approach does not relate to the harbor or the surrounding urban environment, but rather projects the identity of an intervention ambitious enough to become a "great wonder" for Athens, thus generating the corresponding symbolic metaphors.

It is characterized in general by an aesthetic overloading and an excessive tone, which contradicts its environmental sensitivity.

Other than that, the proposal follows the course of time through the changes of its green surfaces and provides, at an acceptable cost, conditions of comfort to the building's potential users.


The proposal aims at integrating the building to its urban context and the harbor as an artistic event.

The emphasis on the element of water in the shape of a parallelepiped cascade, attempts to establish a strong dialogue with the adjacent large horizontal sea surface of the port, of which it seeks to become its perpendicular extension.

From the sustainability point of view the intervention may be considered to contribute to the cooling of the building during the warm months.

Some serious questions are raised however, with respect to the following issues:

The two main poles of the proposal (sea - waterfall) may constitute parts of the same whole, or would the proposal fit better in a densely built internal area of the city of a smaller scale, to avoid the comparison of the large natural element which follows its own rules, to its small (but too big for what is proposed) artificial "extension" which obeys different ones?

The symbolic message of the intervention which glorifies the beauty and power of water is in contrast to a friendly stance towards nature, due to the energy cost of its function which involves desalination, radical and costly cleaning, continuous lifting of dozens of tons of water to a height of 100 m   and the charging of the building and maintenance cost with an additional high performance hydraulic system.

The behavior of the cascades during the winter may be uncontrollable, particularly with strong winds, burdening the building and its environment with substantial humidity. 

Regarding the factor of time, a continuously alternating flow and intermediate interruptions so as to avoid monotony is needed, a fact which requires the strong collaboration of the waterfalls with the building's façades,  for which however there are no indications.

The compatibility of the proposal with a potential use of the building is a matter which requires serious research, of which the preliminary notions are not presented.


Dear colleagues of the jury and the organizing committee,

1. It is by now clear to all of us I believe that the competition has been successful from both the points of view of organization and participation.
2. The jury was formed at a high level of expertise with renown Greek and foreign architects, professors of 4 departments of Architecture and technical experts.
3. However, the usual preliminary exchange of ideas of the members (for which a related proposal was submitted) and the debate during its crucial stages (when the diversity of the criteria of the members became obvious) did not unfortunately take place.
4. A careful reading of the grading of the last stages shows that several top selections of many members were not included in the first 6 collectively selected entries.
Among them the first was selected by 3 members for a A' prize, each of the following 4 by 2 members only for A' prize and the last one by none, in a total of 11 members.
This fact testified the differentiations between the members which had already become noticeable earlier.
5. The 6 entries gathered additionally between 1-7 votes for a B' or C' prize, a  result which hopefully may lead some members who voted "close" to the selections of the A' prizes, to support them in the final stage when their number was limited from 6 to 2, in order for the competition to be concluded with a A' prize.
6. In what concerns my  personal evaluation, entry 110 was  rated among the A' mentions while entry 311 was not graded (the reasoning behind these decisions has already been presented to you and includes among others the insufficient, in my opinion, performance of the proposals with respect to feasibility and sustainability, both given criteria of the competition.)
7. It is evident, as a consequence of the above, that supporting the candidacy of the former entries for a  A' prize is not possible for me and for this reason I am led to a blank vote.

However, I consider that regardless of the final outcome of the procedure, the competition will be successful once again if it presents with clarity and accuracy the wealth of the views and attitudes not only of the participants ,but also of the members of the jury,  without attempting to soften or homogenize their variety.

The remarkable material gathered from both sides, may constitute an important contribution to the analysis and understanding of today's reality of Architecture, with equal educational value.


Best regards,
Alexander D. Tripodakis


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