– Mention (Top 12 submissions) in the international architectural competition for the design of Piraeus Tower mounted by greek-architects in 2010
Aristides S. Dallas, Stavros Martinos, Alexia Katsakiori, Vasiliki Gialia, Giannis Giannoutsos
Restitution of the Piraeus Clock Tower / transfigurations of the sundial.
The Piraeus Tower was erected on the site of a 19th century Clock building that used to be a significant point of reference for the city and its inhabitants. The memory of this demolished landmark has not yet faded out entirely. In order to restitute its presence, we suggest the redesign of the Tower façade as a system of urban sundials.
This way, the reminiscence of the old Clock will be activated on site, in order to enhance the landmark quality of the Piraeus Tower – not only in terms of size, but also in terms of character, through site-specific history.
Sundials are landscape elements with infinite design potential: They are objects whose form encodes information such as geographic latitude, the angle of the sun towards the earth surface, and the four points of orientation. The shared ability to read the code in a particular sundial may contribute significantly to a sense of collective identity, and this is why sundials are often placed in prominent places at historical cities or sites.
The transcription of the sundial device into architecture brings out features such as time, sunlight, shadow, and its gradations during the day. The formerly solid and disproportionate mass of the old tower is divided into four convex faceted volumes that may assume the function of sundial during each of the year’s four seasons. Time, during the day, is read through the shadow the tower casts upon its own self. Specifically, each of the volumes is formulated into connected triangular faces, so that each time a convenient edge may act as gnomon upon the reclining face below. Every face will be shaded differently in the course of time, every day of the year. As a result, the massive building will have an ever changing appearance, but in a way that remains meaningful to the city.
The analemmatic sundial formulated on the top corner of the tower facing North will be easily discernible, since its projection surface will be the only edge to receive a cast shadow. The rest of the edges will remain shaded in different tones of darkness. The same effect will appear on the bottom corner of the tower facing South, where the sundial becomes vertical.
The required additional staircase is shaped into a tall pointed element that casts its shadow upon the surrounding cityscape, acting as gnomon of a horizontal dial. Casts of this latter gnomon edge upon the city may be explicitly marked by a network of urban elements, placed at the proper locations across Piraeus.
The architectural form resulting from such an idea looks cutting edge, and yet remains primitive in essence.