Visitors Centre for the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Centre (SNFCC)
Workspace, Athens, Greece
Competition, 2013, 3rd Prize
The objective of this competition entry was to create a pavilion to overview and present the construction site of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Centre designed by Renzo Piano. To offer the visitors of this pavilion an experience that is interactive with the construction process of the Cultural Centre was the primary goal of our design concept. Having this in our minds, we came out with a space that is flexible, transformable and adaptable to the requested educational program. We thus designed the interior as a fluid space that can change, a conceptual reference to the constantly changing event of the construction. The floorplan of our proposal adapts to different situations - the lecture space, for example, can easily be adjusted to support a capacity of more than 100 visitors, or get transformed into an exhibition space. This flexibility results from the use of rotating partitions consisting of timber frames covered with rope, a material that offers opportunities for privacy and isolation whilst maintaining visual and acoustic communication. The partitions are therefore the design element that organises the interior space and creates events of indirect communication. We used a similar approach for the façade design of the pavilion, where vertical wooden blinds conceal the view to the construction site. Steel tube pillars integrated at the rotation axes of the partition frames support the wooden roof. Thick timber beams compose the roof structure and can accommodate hanging exhibition panels or other equipment necessary for the function of the visitors’ centre, such as lighting or projectors.