Image above: architectural model by students Koutsioumaris, Mpouranta, Rouni:
"One of the great beauties of architecture is that each time, it is like life starting all over again", said Renzo Piano architect of the Stavros Niarchos Cultural Center, down in the river delta at Faliro bay area, in Athens, Greece.
In the beginning was the Word...and then was a plan?-)
The senior students of Semester 9 - Urban design class of the School of Architecture in NTUA (National Technical University of Athens) conceived and designed 22 proposals of urban planning notions that would transform the SNCC surroundings and gradually evolve the urban character of the whole city of Athens. The then-call exhibition Site Effects, was born out of this effort, to decipher this new architectural landmark by super-exposing new solutions for the area's and the city's sustainable plan of future urbanism.
The times seem to impose such thinking:
Peter Vetsch' eco/earth housing is back under the public eye again, the Sauerbruch Hutton architects in Berlin, win the annual German Architecture price for Immanuel protestant church-declaring Sustainability over Glamour as the new Moto, Ackerhelden association in Germany rents gardening space to citizens of the German capital...and the living legends of Japanese architecture,Toyo Ito and Fumihiko Maki act against Zaha Hadid's original plan for the National stadium in Tokyo, for reasons of ecological and cultural sustainability of the surroundings -together with the 33000 signatures of the locals...
The titles of the projects vary significantly, covering a broad spectrum of design approaches: Urban frames - Urban virus - Mold and time - Crossing wedges - Urban implant - Persephone's garden - Tesselate - Unreeled nature - Adversed cities - Squares, water, metal bars - Den(-c-)ity - Cracks on the urban web - Point, section, plane - Spatial passage - Unnatural praise - City layers - Fragments.
In the colloquial supporting event, two of the exhibition curators- Faculty professors As. Prof.Ariadni Vozani and Ad.Prof. Anrdreas Kourkoulas, presented the central axis of the course- a number of data, questions and notions regarding the SNCC project, as the students' principal survey of its connection to the city of Athens and its expansion to the sea.
A make- or- break architectural point for the area AND the city of Athens- a fact that architects/Professors D. Karidis, Y.Peponis, Y.Aesopos and Ad. Professor in Urban Planning, Meta Berghauser Pont illustrated thoroughly, by a series of examples and similar attempts (older and recent) in other capital cities like Berlin, Genova, Hamburg, Bilbao, in comparison with studies of urban network planning in Medina, Atlanta, Singapore, Stockholm, Amsterdam, New York, Chicago, Barcelona. They elaborated on the possible configurations of the final equation: the old Athens, the sea front or barrier, an immense architectural and financial investment, its network and its cultural impact (or not), a crisis (or not) and a critique, the future possibilities of this new "Acropolis" or a new urban Guetto - and the final outcome: a starting point?
A brave, new activity, hopefully- that leads to a creative, unlimited, urban function, for all the citizens - of the Athenian town and of the world. A new generation of designers - architects contemplate heavily on this vision, soon to be a reality, ready to use.
For more information on the exhibition Site Effects 22 Proposals - held on the SNCC Visitors Center until the 18th of October 2015 and its parallel events and archives, please check: