Behind the facade...

28 Jul 2010

Two opposing designs in bid for Piraeus Tower 2010 – Changing the Face competition

Presented here are two of the entries to GreekArchitects.gr run competition to design a fictional facade for the Piraeus Tower on Athens' coastline. Situated in one of the Mediterranean's largest ports (Piraeus), the 22-storey abandoned building dominates the skyline at 84m tall. GreekArchitects.gr explains: “The initiative of our architectural ideas competitions is the localisation of urban issues at vital points of Greek cities and the attempt to resolve them through Architecture.”

Architectural Yort submitted an ambitious proposal which supplies a certain ‘wow factor’. Inspired by the geographical position of the building’s location, Greek history and mythology and the climate of the local area, Architectural Yort's design transforms the Piraeus Tower into an immense waterfall. To ensure the constant flow of water the firm suggest harnessing the natural elements, explaining: “Water comes into the basement of the building [from the sea], where it is cleaned and poured into the reservoir. Then with the help of the pumps on the vertical communication shaft it is lifted to the top of the building.” Once the water (saturated with air) has run down the tower’s facade, it is to be recycled and reused in the same fashion.

Behind this constant flow of seawater is a fully water-locked glass facade (Butacite®, SentryGlass®), whilst the housetop of the stylobate is covered with flexible waterproof material (Elvaloy®, Fusabond®, Ti-Pure®). This elevated space is designed to be used as a walking terrace with open-air cafes providing social areas with fantastic views over the Mediterranean Sea.

In stark contrast to this naturally-based design is PETRA Architects in collaboration with PAPAIOANNOU & associates' technology-led proposal, which aims to ‘assimilate the building within the morphologically common urban fabric, to improve its overall energy output with the use of ‘intelligent and environmental friendly materials’ [and] convey a channel of communication with the natural elements of its direct setting such as the sun, the wind and the sea.’

With such a prominent position on the Athens coastline, the Piraeus Tower regularly encounters winds of great intensity. PETRA’s design focuses on utilising this natural force by coating the structure with a constantly changing skin whose motions will be choreographed by the speed and direction of the prevailing wind. This thin, semi-transparent, photovoltaic leaf is connected with motion sensors so as the material moves in the breeze, the sunlight is captured by the leaves and both wind and sunlight can be converted into enough energy to power the building.

To view all 380 proposals and 69 2nd Phase Proposals, click here.

Sian Disson
News Editor

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