PALIO CAMPUS, VOLOS, GREECE, 2012 MASTER THESIS PROJECT, STAEDELSCHULE ARCHITECTURE CLASS, FRANKFURT
Infrastructural ground is a field of possibilities sustaining processes and activities (natural, urban, social...) and is open to a perpetual change, transformation and evolution. Processes and activities it hosts often reflect on the infrastructure making it active, unused, evolved even destroyed.
Infrastructural space derives from infranstructural ground by leaving it free, but stays intricately connected, a space saturated with infrastructure possible to deal with changing activities, capacities and comforts.
Project represents an extension to an existing university complex in Palio district in Volos/Greece. It offers a hybrid housing scheme, containing student housing, a hotel and a camping lot. It is set in and around a riverbed of Volos river,for me this riverbed ris treated as an infrastructural ground animated by the seasonal flux of water, a building and a landscape project together by transforming the existing infrastructural ground of the riverbed into a river delta.
Infrastructural ground can:
-Articualte the waterflow throughout the year
-Articulate the movement of users
-Capacitate a seasonal program shiftings
-Generate nonlienar use of the space
-Give a performative caracter to a natural landscape
Reference / drawing study
Infrastructural ground as a driving idea is developed it through references: river deltas, traffic networks, and looking at projects like: NY Higline by Diller&Scofidio, MIT Dormitory by Steven Holl. These examples have been represented through my own graphical language ang modeling techniques as a dynamic field of rotational intensities. I further employed this research to develop design tools for my project.
Campus lives in three principal seasons and there are three major usergroups, having different programmatic requirements.By mapping and rating the movement of these particular usergroups and water, throughout
the seasons, and programmatic zones start to emerge as islands which are also the islands ofthe river delta when maps are overlapped with the gradual change in water levels throughout the seasons. So the programmatic/water
topography emerges as a new infrastructural ground capable of supporting all the seasonal scenarios.
Facilities which can perform both separatelly and as a whole, are distributed
in a hyerarchical manner, public facilities towards the main
road (lobby, shops, bank etc...), while the main communal facilities
are facing the large pedestrian crossing which becomes a main public
space, there are the 4 housing blocks, and a shared facility bethween
them. On this drawing you can see the insets spread around the site
on the spots where they are needed (showers, toilettes, bridges, stairs,
Layering the project
Axonometry shows infrastructural ground represented as a field topography activated punctually, by using the inset strategy, where discreet events explored in modeling research are employed to articulate the landscape and the zones where architecture is about to emerge. Within the complex, I chose to develop further one housing block with neighbouring collective building, and to show how they relate to the public crossing and the ground landscape. Housing facilities are organized in a particular way so the main collective spaces are places in the zones where building touches the ground. Dominant facades are threated differently, so all the student flats/hotel rooms are facing the outside of the complex, while the “naked” central corridor is extended with the volumes containing common spaces, oriented towards the inside. This organisations enables the buildings to perform separately and as a complex depending of the seasonal demands
.- in spring the ground level under and around the buildings, is the most important socal spaces, the campsite gets activated
-in winter social spaces are more interriorized spaces and include bridges and corridors
- in summer, there is almost no water, a porous canopy provides the necessary comfort and connects the complex as a whole, so the riverbed becomes an appropriated infrastructural ground.
Materiality of the project would is chosen reflect the type of use and the water presence, conceived to be very low tech, rough and durable, keeping the current identity of the site looking like a bit forgotten, half wild space, which is the identity of the site I would like to preserve.