Stitching Tactics - A project for Hellenikon

Year: 2013
Location: Athens, Greece
Project Leader: Swarnabh Ghosh
Status: Concept 

Hellenikon (Ellinikon) presents itself as a massive, evacuated, geographical presence in the landscape of Athens. As one of the last remaining publicly owned sites in Athens, Hellenikon is representative of a potentially powerful public center for the city and as such is hugely contentious, politically, financially and culturally. This project attempts to recast it as a decidedly public park for the citizens of Athens – a large scale assemblage of public infrastructures nourished by intense habitation and activity.

The project stitches together the three distinct geographies present on the site - the disused runways, the community of garden villas, and the under-used waterfront, to create connections between them while preserving and making apparent, their distinctiveness. An infrastructural plane undergoes a series of transformations to function variously as pier, ramp and volume, absorbing existing infrastructure and negotiating topographical variation. The plane ‘thickens’ to accommodate energy infrastructure and communal workspaces, anchored by large housing slabs which accommodate public program at their lower levels. The base of the slabs as well as the surrounding structures perform the role of programmatic knots that accommodate convention and exposition spaces, institutional facilities, cultural facilities and park infrastructure such as greenhouses and nurseries.

The combination of the horizontal plane and vertical slabs define physically, as well as visually, the boundaries of the site, orchestrate public activity and intensify the experience of the vast open space occupied by the runways. A third typology, the mat, is introduced on the waterfront, which is reshaped and houses an artificial beach, a series of conditioned pools, a new marina as well as desalination and purification infrastructure.