Thessaloniki Water Transport Piers Proposal / Giannikis SHOP

From the water towards the Pier

Giannikis SHOP won the honorary mention in the national architecture design competition for the Water Transport Piers in . Four Piers (Eleutheria Square, Megaro, Aretsou, Perea) are designed so that each Pier is composed of three elements: the floor, the pavilions and the inflated pneumatic structure. The main goals for this competition proposal were functionality, economy and innovation. More images and project description after the break.

From the city Harbor towards the Pier

The floor arranges the flow of users and incorporates pier lighting and sitting. The Floor is made of rough wood planks treated with tar, a technique used in shipbuilding. Sitting is made of stone blocks. Lighting is integrated in the surface of the floor.

From the waterfront towards the sea

The pavilions house the public toilets and storage space (A) and the ticket booth and Pier café (B). The pavilions are steel structures covered in the same rough wood planks as the Floor. The doors and windows of the pavilions are made out of brass, another material that references to shipbuilding.

From the water towards the Pier

The inflated pneumatic structure operates as weather protection and harvests solar energy and water. It is supported by a three column steel structure that holds a triangular ring inside the inflated pneumatic structure. The surface of the inflated pneumatic structure is in constant mechanical support (air supply). The side walls of the inflated pneumatic structure are made of BoPET while the upper and lower walls are made of ETFE . BoPET is a highly reflective synthetic film and ETFE is a transparent synthetic fillm. Both materials have high tensile strength capabilities.

On the Pier, under the Inflated Pneumatic Structure

The Piers have no interior waiting space. The climate of Thessaloniki is mild and the average waiting time for users on the Pier is short. That allows for Pier operation savings in heating during winter and cooling during summer.

From the marina towards the Pier

The reflective surface of the inflated pneumatic structure integrates the Pier in any surroundings it is positioned. The three elements that compose each Pier are the same everywhere. That allows for savings in design and fabrication as well as the ability for use of the existing Pier design in any future expansion of the Thessaloniki Water Transport Piers in other locations. In addition, the persistence of the same elements throughout the Water Transport System unifies the whole as a single entity. The Pier construction has low maintenance requirements. All elements are easy to fix or replace and are resistant to humidity, salt water and vandalism.

Bird’s Eye view of the Pier from Google Earth

The way the Inflated Pneumatic Structure harvests solar energy and water is the following: Solar radiation enters the Inflated Pneumatic Structure from its upper transparent wall. The reflective side walls of the Inflated Pneumatic Structure guide the solar beams towards the solar cells that are located in the interior of the Structure. The solar cells transform the solar energy to electricity and store it there. The advantage of this innovative solar cell technology compared to conventional solar cell technology made with steel and glass is the ability for large surfaces with minimal weight. This technology is being developed by a multitude of companies such as Cool Earth Solar , Emcore , SunPeak Solar , Ausra as well as ETH University.

Bird’s Eye view of the Pier from Google Earth

Water is harvested from three cone shaped point at the upper wall of the Inflated Pneumatic Structure (the point of connection between the surface of the Inflated Pneumatic Structure and its steel support ring) and directed towards an under Pier storage facility. Electricity and water harvested by the Inflated Pneumatic Structure allows for energy and water self-sufficiency of the Pier.

Architect: Giannikis SHOP
Location: Thessaloniki, Greece
Team: Stamatios Giannikis (Team Leader), Evi Tsagka, Stelina, Tsifti, Panagiotis Chatzitsakiris, Giorgos Aggelou
Organizing Committee: Ministry of Infrastructure, Transport and Networks (Greece)
Year: 2011
Size: 120 sqm

Cite: Furuto, Alison. "Thessaloniki Water Transport Piers Proposal / Giannikis SHOP" 25 Nov 2011. ArchDaily. Accessed 26 May 2015. <>