U67 (Fabio Gigone + Angela Gigliotti)
Collaborators: Luka Anic, Agnieszka Nowacka, Davide Masserini
The Piraeus and the city of Athens together form a complex metropolitan area in which the presence of an archipelago of spaces emerges clearly from the dense low-rise fabrics’ layer of the houses. The islands of this archipelago could be considered the eminent mountains, hills, sporadic open spaces, thick industrial buffers and a myriad of gardens. In a way, here the Cyclades are mirrored to form a reverse: where the docking to one of those “islands” often means to get a breath. “Kanari Island” and “Ietionian Gate” are two twin islands placed next to the Piraeus Port, even if not directly connected with the sea and not even to each other, still their opposite topography makes the docking to them two completely different experiences. The relationship between these two islands is the framework in which this proposal has to be collocated. Both for the visitors and for the residents, the “Kanari Island” has a central role due to its position: it is a contemporary urban gate for the city.
Its main content is the Archeological Thematic Museum of Piraeus. The proposal of intervention within the existing building could be sum up in two main steps that interest the changing of the volume, without changing its scale in relation with the urban fabric, but building a new landmark.
The first is splitting in two the slab of the pilotis, through the east-west axis creating a “deck” connected directly to the street level: a mezzanine for the ground floor, connected in section through ramps and stairs to the pilotis. This allows the Museum to keep the visual connection towards the south with having also a physical connection towards the north in its most open level.
The second is an enclosed “Pteroma” of 6,5 m height added to the two last storeys, giving the exhibition inside the best view and the highest visibility.
The internal system of vertical connections lies in diagonal within the three cores, that together with the use of corridors allow each storey a specific and clear distribution diagram. When it comes to the public space, the decision to design the parking building towards the north defines an urban edge for the Kanari Island, and gives an advantage in shaping the public space. Its design comprehends three gradients of use: a multi-purpose open space, an archeological open-air showcase and a natural buffer. Three different perceptions to the museum from the outside, three connections between the Kanari Island and the Ietionian Gate.
What role does texture play within your proposal?
Insert some raster images and in particular some textures in the drawings is something we are developing and, in this project in particular, we have explored more its use.Using textures improve some qualities of the vectorial drawings; it’s not really related as a reference to the real materials: on the opposite, we think is more related to the idea of keeping an inner abstraction giving some depth to the drawings.
In other words we could say that the textures represent in fact more an intrinsic property of a matter rather than an architectural use of a material; after all, working in 1:200 or 1:500 scale, the direct reference to a realistic material would be meaningless.
To what extent are the colors used representative of the materiality?
As for the textures also for the colors what is really important is not the materiality itself but how the single drawing or image is able to communicate the project using an abstraction.It’s really important to focus on the scenarios that the combination of colors is able to create in the mind of who is looking at thproject, instead of concentrating to the singular meaning of the colors itself.The direct relation colors-reality is not the decoding way of understanding a drawing.As any representation, there’s a specific code that you, more or less implicitly, agree upon to make the project possible to speak to the public for itself. Recognizing only one of this colors, the light blue for the glasses for instance, allows the reader to understand the implicit code without using a specific color of every other material.
Does the green marble try and relate to the thematic of monumentality?
Yes it does. The suspended volume of the exhibition space differs from the existing building in terms of content and relation within the whole building.Here the green marble, since is out of scale, suggests the idea of a monolithic volume excavated to host the its content.The thematic of monumentality is something we found essential to deal with in that specific context: the size of the existing building for instance, the city itself, the scale of the cruise boats in the Pireus harbour. They all are, in a way or in an other, monumental elements to relate with.
You talk about the location of the proposal as vital for its framework however this is not largely explored through your drawings, why so?
The location of the project was given so what we have explored in our project and in the design approach is a specific understanding of the location and of the city through an abstraction of it.What we found vital has been to read Athens, the very dense low-rise city, using the hills, the sporadic open spaces, the industrial buffers or the spotted gardens. We have considered these open spaces as the islands of this archipelago that emerges from the fabric’s layer of the houses. In this way Kanari Island is just one among the several islands of the Athens metropolis, as shown in the map. Each island reacts differently to the contact with its surrounding context with its edges and surface, shaping itself through mooring points, cliffs, bays and panoramic places.
U67 is the common ground of Fabio Gigone and Angela Gigliotti. We want to collect and share experiences related to design topics. We are involved in a multidisciplinary activity where the project deals each time with a new issue to produce unexpected outcomes. We believe in the project as a method to develop sceneries working through different scales and involving specific competences to better approach the meaning of the context.
Each project is a way to reveal possibilities towards different points of view, a vision that includes collective knowledge and beauty.