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  3. Engineered Biotopes / Piraeus Tower 2010 Competition

Engineered Biotopes / Piraeus Tower 2010 Competition

Engineered Biotopes / Piraeus Tower 2010 Competition
© Anthi Grapsa & Konstantinos Chalaris
© Anthi Grapsa & Konstantinos Chalaris

London based architects Anthi Grapsa and Konstantinos Chalaris shared with us their entry for the Piraeus Tower 2010 Competition, for which they gained commendation.

The cities of Attica and especially Piraeus is a city with a very low proportion of open green spaces to the number of its inhabitants compared to European standards.

Our proposal for the Façade reformation of Piraeus Tower intends to use technology for the best possible adaption of nature on the building. Using modern agricultural techniques in the construction of the building we allow nature to flourish with the help of plants and birds that already exist around the city.

The program of the facade varies through its vertical expression.

© Anthi Grapsa & Konstantinos Chalaris
© Anthi Grapsa & Konstantinos Chalaris

On the outside of the first two floors, the plant nursery consists of a grid of glass tubes used to nurture seedlings. From a distance these appear as a shimmering form, reflecting light onto the street provoking the attention of the passerby.

Floors 3-22 consist of small biotopes that produce low vegetation for the workers and visitors inside the building. This system consists of a robotic crane and specially designed modules where plants are grown. The crane is connected to a computer, which re-positions the modules based on the weather conditions, sun light and water consumption. If a crop is receiving too much sunlight, the module is moved to the shade either horizontally or vertically until finding the required position.

© Anthi Grapsa & Konstantinos Chalaris
© Anthi Grapsa & Konstantinos Chalaris

The proximity of the modules to the inhabitants of the building challenges the conventional distance of man from nature within cities, and asks the question: Can man compromise and give up some of his personal space for nature?

The movement of these modules creates an urban choreography, a microcosm of the dynamic movements of Piraeus Port, where containers and ships are constantly reconfigured.

© Anthi Grapsa & Konstantinos Chalaris
© Anthi Grapsa & Konstantinos Chalaris

The formation of the proposed facade projects the horizontal city grid of the surrounding area onto the vertical expression of the building linking the structure to its context and creating a form familiar to the inhabitants of the area.

At the top, the roof structure facilitates the colonisation of the building by nature, allowing the growth of wild plants while attracting insects and wild birds. We anticipate that the proposal will evolve to a network of ecosystems on other towers and buildings in both Piraeus and Athens where the citizens will embrace nature for the development of a better urban environment.

© Anthi Grapsa & Konstantinos Chalaris
© Anthi Grapsa & Konstantinos Chalaris

Cite: Amber P. "Engineered Biotopes / Piraeus Tower 2010 Competition" 30 Jul 2010. ArchDaily. Accessed . <https://www.archdaily.com/70953/engineered-biotopes-piraeus-tower-2010-competition/> ISSN 0719-8884
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