Life Beyond Parking
Architecture Diploma Project, 2016
Design Team: Dionysios Koutsioumaris, Argyris Chronopoulos, Georgios Fiorentinos
University: National Technical University of Athens (NTUA), Greece
Tutored by: Andreas Kourkoulas, John Zachariades
"Honorable Mention" - European Architectural Medal Awards 2016
Nomination - EU Mies van der Rohe Young Talent Architecture Awards 2016
The project was selected for exhibition during the UIA 2017 SEOUL Congress in the Greek pavillion by the Technical Chamber of Greece
This diploma project chose to place its setting in downtown Athens. Our attention was captured by its latent dynamic and thus turned towards parking lots. Those structures can be seen as machines a habiter. The inhabitant, the car, seems to be deserting them. Amongst all types, that of the underground seemed more challenging.
Two radically different locations were chosen so as to create a dipole, the parts of which constitute a case study.
The one in Kaniggos square in Omonoia, the other in Rizari Street in Kolonaki.
The latter surrounded by a sparse urban fabric, green spaces and cultural activities.
The former situated in one of Athens’s densest areas, surrounded by intense metropolitan activities, congestion, transportation. Two places, two versions.
The clean and the dirty,
serenity vs constant motion.
The context as the defining design principle.
An obvious paradigm of two opposites in program and form which celebrate their birth from the Athenian womb.A paradigm that is about breathing new life into existing structures. A revitalization that will offer its energy back to the city. The two parking lots, imminent to economic collapse but also to nationalization in the upcoming decade call for their new role in the metropolis.
We baptize them as metropolis’s incubators, its accelerators (Kaniggos) or urban de-compressors (Rizari).
Inhabitance through the programmatic element of the hotel stretches the notion of viability after the alteration of parking lots.
According to a 2010 survey, 100.000 cars park in the city center between 9:00-13:00.
From the above, 65.000 cars en up parking in legal, while 35.000 in illegal parking space.
The total amount of open-air, overground as well as underground parking spaces in Athens inside the city center is 289, covering more than 207.950 square meters of the Athenian landscape and offering the amount of about 33.600 parking seats.
The total amount of offered parking spaces sums up to 640.000 square meters.
A fact that actually objects to the statement that Athenians truly suffer a lack of parking spaces, especially after bearing in mind that more than 50% of those parking seats remain empty during rush hour in daily basis.
Alongside to the fact that the economy crisis reduced by 30% the amount of cars circulating in the Athenian center and contemporary urban theories that begin to question the presence of cars in metropolitan cores, we find ourselves facing a surplus of parking spaces, great part of which is imminent to becoming public property.
These spaces constitute our design preoccupation.