A new urban development plan for post-industrial Europe is emerging, which strives to re-embed the lost productive, constructive and manufacturing dynamics of the contemporary cities: “the productive city”. The current handymen (fashion designers, plumbers, car repair technicians etc.) are supplied with affordable space within the city neighbourhoods, thereby boosting social cohesion and local economies. The coastline of Drapetsona is the ideal ground for such a development due to its direct connection with the local people and its industrial and labor heritage. But it is also an ideal location for a technology innovation centre due to its proximity to the port of Piraeus and the excess of highly educated technology and manufacturing professionals that strive to succeed in crisis-torn Athens.
program | Transformation of former Drapetsona industrial site at the port of Piraeus into technology innovation centre, workshops & housing complex
info | 2016 – 2017, Athens, GR
type | Competition entry in collaboration with Matt Zarmpis and Vicky Polychronopoulou
role | Lead design architect
responsibilities | Research & analysis, concept development, 2d and 3d modelling & illustrations
The combined strength of technology start-ups with a university and local labor
The site is proposed to be transformed into a green area with the D.I.Y – Drapetsona Innovation Yard- as its main function, which is housed inside the listed buildings of the former chemical fertilizers’ factory. The D.I.Y. is the core of the park development and aims to the creation of a regional center for entrepreneurship and innovation suited for businesses, which are active in fields related to the sea, the port and the city. Following this frame of thought, the Technological Institute of Piraeus is relocated in the area in order to provide its students not only with new education and research spaces, but also with the link to innovation, manufacturing, testing and prototyping in close collaboration with the D.I.Y. and its people. A new model for live/work completes the proposal for the 64 hectares. With the use of land exchange as a tool, young and old entrepreneurs with garages and workshops can move their businesses and homes in privately owned buildings close to the sea. The land exchange derives from the lack of small-scale green spaces within the municipality, which is something that cannot be addressed only by the creation of a large park at the edge of it. Built space that corresponds to 17 urban blocks is transferred in the seaside and is replaced with pocket parks, playgrounds and public spaces within the existing neighbourhoods. The proposal has both a local and regional character and it is based on the special features of Drapetsona and the larger ambitions for cities with historical continuity, increased quality of life, manufacturing economy and sustainability.
The housing matrix
With only a few basic regulations and several design options, local businessmen can exchange their old house with a brand new building within the three new neighbourhoods. The new houses are energy neutral, have outdoor private spaces and a ground floor workshop.
The DIY centre
The listed buildings of the former fertilizers’ factory are turned into a factory for innovation and manufacturing related to the sea and the city, similar to the Rotterdam Innovation Dock in the Netherlands. New or established tech companies can rent out office space while being able to use a variety of services offered by the centre. At the main hall, there is a large shared workshop with tools like 3d printers or laser cutters, which can assist in the manufacturing and testing of new products. All surrounding spaces can be used for network or trade events. Two office floors are organised in a flexible way around the main atrium.