Lavrion Technological and Cultural Park emerged on the location of a former French mining company, operating from the 19th till the second half of the 20th century. The mining complex in Lavrion quickly became a significant one in the scale of Attica as well as Greece, exploiting the ancient slugs and extracting silver containing lead ores.
The mining complex consisted of three main production lines: silver, plumb and arsenic, located in three different areas, spread on the site. Besides, the factory comprised of the auxiliary functions as well as the power and gas station.Growing industry lead to the emergence of a new workers’ settlement- a town called Lavrion. To a large extent depended on the company, the town developed according to the pattern of the factory, consisting of the cultural and commercial services, belonging to the owners of the mining complex.
The name of the town comes from “lavra” or “lavri”, which means narrow passage, tunnel. In fact, all the area is full of ancient and modern mining galleries. This name, directly related to the mining heritage stood for a link between the factory and Lavrion.
In the 1980s the mining company ceased functioning. During the 1990s the existing complex of approximately fifty buildings was transformed into the technological and cultural park, with following long-lasting renovation and reuse process. As a result of this, some parts of the complex function again, however, does not attract a significant number of the visitors nor bring any profit. Still, the majority of the factory stays in the state of a ruin. There is no precise plan how to revitalise the complex and how to encourage potential visitors to come. Moreover, the complex, which formerly strongly related with the town, does not have any link anymore. It appears as a “walled city” and consists of solely one entrance located outside of the town, by busy, unpleasant for pedestrians road.
The project RE-LINK aims to recreate the missing link between the mining complex and the town of Lavrion in the macro scale, then the connection between distinct production lines within the complex and finally establish a new relationship between the future and the past of the factory.
This could be done by opening up the complex to the surrounding settlements, introducing a mix of distinct functions, dependent on each other and providing the factory with a public function, which would eventually tie the mining complex with the town Lavrion again.
Tourism stands for a substantial element of a Greek economy, especially in a case of Lavrion – the town which “survived” the economic crisis thanks to the coming visitors. Thus, the plans for the Lavrion Technological and Cultural Park are mainly orientated towards external tourists and researchers, without providing a function which would establish a new (currently broken) link with the city and the citizens. Hence, confronting the difficulty of attracting the visitors, especially tourists, my proposal aims towards (in the first place) inviting the local citizens to the complex, through the implementation of a new public function – a library and opening up the complex to the surrounding settlements.
An institution of a library emerged in a classical Greece in the 5th century BC. However, the current global financial crisis is the biggest economic upheaval for all libraries around the world and especially for those in Southern Europe. Due to this crisis, Greek libraries face many problems deriving mostly from their state funding and personnel reduction. Consequently, there is no single library in Lavrion and Lavriotiki area.
However, the crisis brought not only “threads” but also some new possibilities. Specifically, in 2011 the organisation “Future libraries” funded by amongst others the Stavros Niarchos Foundation arose. Since then, it aims towards the creation of a network of public and municipal libraries all over Greece and strengthening a public awareness on the importance libraries as centres for learning and creativity, and as interaction spaces.*
What defined the method of representation of the proposal?
The project “Re-link” is an adaptive reuse of a former power station, being part of a significant mining complex in the southern part of Greece (Attica). Hence, for me, it was necessary to depict the existing conditions, meaning: a morphology of the site, materials and details. Moreover, the proposed transformation aimed to relate a lot to the past of the site. Thus, I wanted to show that thanks to several small interventions, we can provide the mining complex with the new qualities at the same time maintaining the atmosphere of the past.
Consequently, in order to achieve the mentioned effect, I decided to represent the project in a series of collages, which make the observer feel the atmosphere of the place, understand the new interventions and its new qualities.
What shaped the formatting of the images on the boards?
The formatting (proportions) of images resulted from the qualities of the space. Sometimes it was more appealing to depict a room in an almost panoramic image, like the interior of the power station, where so much may happen at the same time or the entrance perspective. In another case, 1:1 proportions of an image were fine enough.
Recently there has been a proliferation in the use of silhouettes as those of Hockney, Hopper, Magritte and many others-what is your take on this? What lead you to use these within your images, what is their role?
The silhouettes that I use in my images aim to emphasize the space, how one may use it basically and what is the story behind an illustrated building or intervention. The Hockney, Hopper, Magritte figures as you mentioned fulfil this task well, at the same time not being too evocative. They sort of allure you to the peculiar space.
What was your work process in terms of concept development and production of images?
Actually, in my case, the concept development involves the production of the images since the very beginning. At first, they are very conceptual collages, depicting the main idea. Later, as the project develops, the images tell more – starting from black and white linear drawings in the beginning to the ones, illustrating the project in detail, regarding the spatial qualities, the feeling of the space and materials. In each phase of the design process, the illustrations aim to confirm the strength of the project at the particular moment and obviously convey the main idea.
Regarding the design process itself, I would say, it is a well-organized one. Every week means progress in terms of the project development. Usually, there are no last minute changes.
What software did you use?
Rhinoceros, Vray, Adobe Photoshop
To what extent has TU Delft influenced your take on architectural representation?
TU Delft stays open towards the proposals of the students both in terms of the concept and its visual depiction. Hence, I would not say that the University, nor tutors had any peculiar impact on the chosen way of the architectural representation. Obviously, it does not mean that it is indifferent to the tutors. A coherent storyline, as well as an attractive illustration of the proposal, appear important in the final evaluation.