Proposal for Center Of Contemporary Art

Mikrolimano, Piraeus, Athens

Architectural Design course NTUA

Athens Greece

2010-11

The site is located in a very central area of Piraeus, Mikrolimano, with close proximity to the sea. One of its main features is the huge slope at its northern side which is covered by an almost vertical, 21 meter high, concrete wall. Disrupting the continuity of the urban tissue, this elevation difference between the city and the sea level has a deep impact in the area because it forbids vertical movement and forms a barrier to the sea front. Incorporation of the plot that lies in between the site and the coast, which is currently used as a parking space, is optional. The aim of the course is the design of a Center of Contemporary Art that will be open to visitors and at the same time will function as public space, something that the area is in great need of. 
Bridging these two levels was a primary goal for the Center in order for it to facilitate vertical movement and be accessible both from the upper and the lower level. The two parallel movements, the exhibition’s visitors and the passer’s-by, can coexist when the Center is open because exhibition spaces function autonomously; general entrance to the space is open and ticket verification for events is done on each of the three exhibition spaces. This way people who only wish to traverse the building can use the Center’s library, shop and café, or even use the space as a vertical link. 
On an aesthetic level, our intention was to combine the two elements found in the area, water and rock, and attempt to recreate on some level the pre-existing morphology of the ground. The shell of the building recreates the hard, solid properties of rock while the inside inherits properties of the natural and fluid movement identified in water flow which is expressed by the use of ramps. Initial explorations on volume and relationships between the various functions of the building have been implemented through the molecular structure of water.