Exploring New Spatial Narratives
This Diploma project was awarded with the “Mediterranean Mimar Sinan Prize 2016” Distinction in July 2016, launched by Mimar Sinan Fine Art University, UMAR and Osservatorio del Mediterraneo, considering the Mediterranean geographical, climatic, spatial and architectural qualities with sensitivity to the social structures and issues through an innovative approach.
The legendary and historical island of Ioannina in northwestern Greece, of a total area of 353.70 acres and an architectural, religious and environmental value, is located in Lake Pamvotis, a 24-square-kilometers ecosystem protected by Natura 2000, 470m above sea level. It includes a preserved settlement, an artificial coniferous forest, while bordered to the northwest by an extensive reed area growing in the lake. Despite the intense environmental degradation it has been through, the island continues to give shelter to valuable fauna and flora species, many of which are endangered.
The study area, a rock of a particularly interesting topography and location to the southwest, stands as a boundary between the lake front and the hinterland, thus negating the point of contact between them and allowing only the circumferential path along the lakeside front.
The design process is based on the data the island offers. It is a place of a strong religious character that complements the city of Ioannina, a place of hesychasm and recreation. Its particular morphological characteristics are perceived firstly by the three dynamically-changing-in-time fronts: the reeds ‘disappearing’ and regenerating through time and conditions, the stone-built village of a characteristic scale of urban typologies and the coniferous forest on the background, allow an ‘interacting reading’ of the place both from outside to inside and from inside to outside, creating an introvert and an extrovert character. This gets intensified by the special climate conditions of the area with the wet winters and widespread fog periods. The short path on the perimeter offers different successive images of the entire waterfront of the city of Ioannina and spatial qualities shaped to a great extent by the natural and climatic features.
Utilizing the spatial data-natural or man-made-and analysing typologies of the existing boundaries, geometries, textures, vegetation and island’s needs, an environmental education center is proposed as part of this path, aiming for an ‘interacting narration’ of the place on either side of the boundary-rock. The thesis focuses on a new understanding of the already experienced ‘genius loci’ via the suggestion of a continuous movement inside, outside and close to the boundary-rock and the creation of transitional areas-of building and non building type-as a reference to its horizontality and verticality. Thus, a ‘meteorism’ between different spatial and temporal realities as well as a complete network of pathways, running across the island and connecting the village with the forest and monasteries, are made possible.
The rock is treated as a space-a volume of distinct geometric features and a peculiar section. In its core, the environmental education center is placed promoting the research and awareness on the environment. It is a room-in-room penetration, adding a motion opposing to the static boundary. It consists of a central axis which coincides with the rock’s symmetry axis emphasizing its horizontality and distributes the horizontal and vertical movements in the volumes and levels, ensuring, thus, the connection between the two entry points. The building is organized on three levels following the terrain’s spatial features so as to be smoothly integrated with the landscape. Therefore it is always in retreat or in continuity with it, and never exposed. Three perpendicular-to-the-axis volumes explore new relations with the terrain, the light and the wind, eliminating in transverse the lateral boundary of the rock’s sides. The spatial functions are organized on both sides of the central axis in a tripartite manner in the three building volumes crossing the rock in transverse, being the reception, information (amphitheater-exhibition space) and eating spaces on an intermediate level, the administration, education and research spaces (workshops, general library / specialized research) on the upper level and the required auxiliary rooms on the lower level.
Free spaces are shaped both out of the building as plateau carved into the rock allowing the observation of the landscape and between undercut solid volumes, to ensure the good micro-climatic conditions, set aside the introverted atmosphere of the more common uses and enrich their spatial value. The typology and scale of the building volumes and the free spaces respectively follow the proportions of the ones of the preserved settlement with the intention of their completely integrating with the physiognomy of the island’ s landscape.
Who influences you graphically?
I am interested in translating the information behind the concepts that articulate each architectural work or movement into a graphic vocabulary rather than finding influence on singular examples of projects or graphic styles. Each project stands as a different personal searching for both the user to whom it is addressed and the architect themselves, in an attempt to discover spatial, perceptual and sensory qualities. This lets it stand out from other architectural projects. Within this context, therefore, I constantly experiment and look for my own graphic and design vocabulary through the information I find in the field of architecture and collage-a few indicative only examples would be the works of Barozzi Veiga, Aires Mateus, RCR Arquitectes, Fala Atelier, OMA, Peter Zumthor and Sou Fujimoto-as well as in photography, in case the project tends to touch a little deeper the world of the realistic. Lately the work of the Greek photographer Petros Koublis, which appears as a meteorism between a real and a mythological-symbolic space and time, has influenced my way of “reading” hybrid spaces and ideas.
How does the graphic language reflect the thesis?
The thesis intends to generate a new perception of an already experienced place and give meaning by new to human existence through a different understanding of the already known «genius loci» of the island of Ioannina; a different perception of the real space-landscape. The treatment of the entire proposal as a sequence of transitional areas of building and non-building type, implies a meteorism between different spatial and temporal realities, between the known and unknown, the real and imaginary. The rendered “imaginary” interior spaces of the proposal are combined with real photographs from the study area as a background, treated graphically in such way as to approach a bit more the world of the “imaginary”. It was, thus, made possible to describe relational qualities such as the natural and man-made, the introverted and extraverted, the sunlit and shaded, found in both the roofed and open carved spaces of the proposal that help define the desired “atmosphere”.
What dictated the means of representation through which you reveal your proposal?
The project’s physiognomy and the subject of my personal searching through it. In this work, a mixed, hybrid technique articulated between the real world of photography and the imaginary one of a rendered view, was chosen to talk about the new “atmosphere” that the proposal tries to narrate as a different story of the site’s already experienced “genius loci” and to generate, in the end, an unfamiliar user’s experience.
What dictated the choice of views you reveal your proposal through?
The space is less a quantitative than a qualitative idea, complex and multi-layered. It doesn’t constitute of the singular architectural elements, geometries, objects, materials or people who are found in it, but it is the synergy of relations that develop between all those. To describe a space, a subtractive representation technique of a «less-is-more» logic can often provide more relevant information than a really detailed image. In this thesis, only a few views are chosen to show the different “atmospheres” proposed in a qualitative way instead of a more descriptive and analytical representation of details. They can focus, thus, on adding information about various spatial relations that define the proposal, such as the building and the terrain, the natural and man-made, the hard and soft texture, the sunlit and shaded spaces, the inside and the outside, the “atmosphere”. Those specific rendered views are located at the spots where the lateral boundary that the rock’s fronts create gets eliminated by the three perpendicular volumes, which is also the most crucial design parameter of the proposal. Towards a more holistic view of these qualitative relations, the perspective section is introduced as a visualization tool, following the rules of the perspective and the proportions that the real photographs on the background set.
Anna was born in Ioannina, Greece. She discovered Architecture as a value after experimenting on animation forms sketching starting at a young age. Holding a Diploma of Architect Engineer from Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (AUTH), Anna now considers the human-being as a value shaping needs, rules and relations of synergy with their surroundings generating architectural forms. Her interests touch also the fields of spatial philosophy, photography, graphic design and theory of music. The Diploma thesis explores architectural types and conditions through which an already experienced “genius loci” could be reconsidered as a meteorism between dynamic spatial and temporal realities and give meaning by new to human existence. It was awarded with the “Mediterranean Mimar Sinan Prize 2016” Distinction, launched by Mimar Sinan Fine Art University, UMAR and Osservatorio del Mediterraneo, for considering sensitively and innovatively the Mediterranean climatic, spatial and social issues. It was subsequently presented at the public architecture lecture «[Σ]το τέλος της μικρής μας πόλης…» on the island of Ioannina, Greece as an honorary proposal of a new urban vision for the city of Ioannina. On her next steps,Anna is going to pursue her professional and academic career abroad.