New Town Hall Prague 7

Team: Irgen Salianji, Karolina Szóstkiewicz, Marina Kounavi, Antony Laurijsen

The project for a new Town Hall in Prague 7 is proposing a long term vision to reinvent the administration and bureaucratic process. The building is designed as a flexible spatial system to facilitate open plan office layouts that introduce the notions of informality and creativity in the interaction between public servants and citizens. Town Halls have been spaces of governmental formality and lengthy bureaucratic procedures for decades, however they will obtain a more public and informal character as the advancements in technology and the rise of social media will transform not only the legislative process and governmentality, but physical space itself. In such a context of future projections, we propose a clean and flexible  building that organizes the generic administration work-spaces in the centre of its floor plan, and instead the workstations that involve interaction with the citizens are positioned on the perimeter and the facade. Both symbolically and functionally, the perimeter of the floor plans becomes a social condenser, a zone of public life and encounters - an architectural space and a facade animated by the activities of daily life in a public institution that is transforming and is being transformed by the citizens of Prague District 7.


The new facilities of the Town Hall will bring density and activity into the whole neighbourhood. In terms of aesthetics, the building is making a contrast to the surroundings with its clean form and abstract appearance. In terms of function and activities, however, the new Town Hall building introduces a new level of transparency and inclusiveness for the local community and the whole district to participate and affect the democratic process. 



The new Town Hall building is organized vertically as a gradient of public openness and accessibility on the lower levels and segregation of more administrative functions on the upper ones. Equally on the floor plan of each level, the inner spaces of the building are housing office spaces for administration employees and the outer ones open plan desks for employees and departments that deal with clients and citizens. 

The terraces of the building are a strong part of the urban alignment and the identity of the building, therefore they are further highlighted in the new scheme. Some of the lower terraces become continuation of the public route of the building and are open to citizens, and other have a limited accessibility only to the employees of the building. All off them are resurfaced and landscaped, so that they become welcoming and attractive to visitors. 


The ground floor plan of the Town Hall includes a wide entrance in the north facade of the building and houses key spaces of the program such as the information desk, cash office and register office. Being easily accessible and welcoming, the entrance of the building is adjacent to the public stairs of the building and the exhibition gallery which is spread along the perimeter of the floor plan. In contrast to the feasibility study, we propose that the cafe is placed on the southern western corner of the ground floor, so that is becomes a pleasant space for brakes and encounters for both employees and clients.







The public perimetric areas of the building contain a multitude of open pan offices  and informal meeting spaces. The acoustic treatment of the inner walls is here an important element to be considered, however the quality of the space and the public feeling it provides, compensate the effort.

All technical and utility spaces - such as kitchenettes, clock rooms and archive - are in the central core of the building. The central core also compresses the elevators, fire escape staircase and toilets, as well as archive spaces.



The ground floor plan of the Town Hall includes a wide entrance in the north facade of the building and houses key spaces of the program such as the information desk, cash office and register office. Being easily accessible and welcoming, the entrance of the building is adjacent to the public stairs of the building and the exhibition gallery which is spread along the perimeter of the floor plan. In contrast to the feasibility study, we propose that the cafe is placed on the southern western corner of the ground floor, so that is becomes a pleasant space for brakes and encounters for both employees and clients.

In the first floor of the building the clients can find the Departments of Social and Legal Protection, and the Children Protection Department. Also in the floor it is located the Foreigners and Minorities Department, as well as meeting rooms and kids corner. 
The second floor of the proposed scheme houses the Operation and Control Departments of the Town Hall. The IT Department is also located in the same level, as well as the Culture and Sports Department. 
The third floor contains also departments that are directly serving clients, such as  Municipality Properties Department, the Housing and Retail Department, and the Investment Department. The Legal and Education Departments complete the lout of the floor. 
The forth floor of the building introduces more administrative departments such as the Legal and Administrative Department, the Development  Department, the Living Development Department, as well as more the Department of Masterplanning.  In this floor the informal perimetric desks are being reduced since less clients need to visit the floor. 
The rest of the floors contain the rest of the Departments of the Town Hall, including the Finance and Accounting Departments on the fifth floor, and the Organisation  Department on the seventh floor. 
The mayor’s office, as well as the ones of his assistants and secretaries are located on the sixth floor. The Crisis Management facility is located in close proximity from the mayor’s office, on the seventh floor, together with Chairmans of Departments. 
The eighth floor of the building has been redesigned to function as a Ceremonial Halls, as the technical spaces that were located there were moved in the basement. 
The sustainability profile remains a critical integrated element of the scheme designed to meet the ethos and ambition of the City hall’s Sustainability Vision for the development. The scheme is designed to meet high energy efficiency targets which are an essential, core requirement: optimising natural and mixed-mode ventilation systems, exploiting the use of thermal mass in the building, using efficient and effective plant.

The massing of the building provides shading during the summer to the main windows. This reduces solar gain and means that natural ventilation will work better for more of the year; A double skin façade (DSF) is being used as part of the inlet air system: it serves as an enhancement to improve control of solar gains in the summer and preheats air in the winter – this is on the S facade; Daylighting is being enhanced through the use of a glass façade on North and South area of the building and the terraces; The building responds to different wind conditions to enhance natural ventilation; The stairs along the façade work as “lungs” of the building. They will manage inlet air temperatures entering the office spaces; An earthtube is being used to pre-heat / cool air. The efficiency of the earthtube is being augmented via geoexchange; Solar thermal tubes on the roof are being used to capture solar energy to warm the building in the winter.



Cyprus Pavilion Proposal, Venice Biennale 2016

ΑΝΤΑΠOΚΡΙΣΗ ΑΠO ΤΗN YΠΑΙΘΡΟ

reporting from the countryside

Team: Irgen Salianji, Marina Kounavi, Karolina Szóstkiewicz, Stavroula Psomiadi, Andreas Ierides, Maria Prodromou, Antony Laurijsen



ΘΕΜΑ

Το θέμα του Κυπριακού περιπτέρου στην 15η Μπιενάλε Αρχιτεκτονικής στη Βενετία προτείνεται να είναι η ύπαιθρος και η δυναμική της καθημερινής ζωής στα πλαίσια του μη αστικού ή περι-αστικόυ περιβάλλοντος. Σε μια εποχή ταχείας αστικοποίησης και τεχνολογικής αιχμής, η έρευνα και ο διάλογος για την πόλη κυριαρχούν και αφήνουν στο περιθώριο ένα σημαντικό κομμάτι του πληθυσμού και της οικονομίας, την ύπαιθρο. 
Η Κύπρος αποτελεί ένα πρότυπο χώρας πλούσιας σε φυσικούς, ορυκτούς και ανθρώπινους πόρους, η οποία ωστόσο επικεντρώνεται κατά τις τελευταίες δεκαετίες στη αστική ανάπτυξη και αφήνει σε δεύτερη μοίρα τις δυνατότητες της υπαίθρου. Η πρότασή μας υιοθετεί το κάλεσμα του Επιμελητή της Μπιενάλε για την έρευνα εναλλακτικών αφηγήσεων για το χτισμένο και μη περιβάλλον, καθώς και την ανάδειξη των συνθηκών διαβίωσης στα όρια της κανονικότητας και των προκλήσεων της καθημερινής ζωής. Ο μεσογειακός χαρακτήρας και η δυναμική της κυπριακής υπαίθρου προσφέρουν ένα σημαντικό πλαίσιο έρευνας για την ανάδειξη των αρχιτεκτονικών μετώπων, των ανισοτήτων μεταξύ πόλης και χωριού, παραγωγής και κατανάλωσης, νεωτερικότητας  και επαρχιωτισμού. Εκτός από προκλήσεις, η ύπαιθρος της Κύπρου χαρακτηρίζεται από σημαντικές ποιότητες, ανθρώπινες σχέσεις και αρχιτεκτονικό έργο το οποίο αξίζει να αναδειχτεί. 
Στα πλαίσια της υπαίθρου, η έννοια της αρχιτεκτονικής ξεπερνά τα αστικά πρότυπα του σχεδίου πόλεως, της κερδοφορίας, της κατανάλωσης και της αξίας χρήσης, και αντίθετα επεκτείνεται στους μηχανισμούς παραγωγής, την αμεσότητα των ανθρωπίνων σχέσεων και την αξία ανταλλαγής. Αντιστρέφοντας την κριτική του Ανρί Λεφέµπρ για την πόλη, η ύπαιθρος αποτελεί, στην μετανεωτερική συνθήκη της αποβιομηχανισμένης Ευρώπης, τον νέο πόλο ανάπτυξης και δημιουργίας δεσμών. Σε αντίθεση με τις αυστηρές δομές και το δισδιάστατο χαρακτήρα της πόλης, η ύπαιθρος μπορεί να αναλυθεί μόνο στο πολυδιάστατο επίπεδο των πολύπλοκων παραγωγικών δομών, της αμεσότητας, της μικροκλίμακας και της συντροφικότητας που συνοδεύει τις προκλήσεις της καθημερινής ζωής. 
Τι άφησε πίσω η φλυαρία της αστικοποίησης και ποιες είναι  οι μελλοντικές δυνατότητες της υπαίθρου;


ΚΕΝΤΡΙΚΗ ΙΔΕΑ

Ο σχεδιασμός του περιπτέρου βασίζεται στην κυριολεκτική αναπαραγωγή ενός στιγμιότυπου της υπαίθρου της Κύπρου μέσα στον κεντρικό χώρο του Palazzo Malipiero, η οποία πλαισιώνεται από τρεις χώρους με το εκθεσιακό περιεχόμενο της έρευνας. Σε αντίθεση με την υπερπληροφόρηση που συνήθως προσφέρεται στους επισκέπτες των εθνικών περιπτέρων, το Κυπριακό περίπτερο στοχεύει σε μια διαφορετική προσέγγιση που συνδυάζει το εκθεσιακό υλικό με την εμπειρία της στάσης, της διάδρασης και της συνδιαλλαγής. Η πράξη της μεταφοράς ενός ατόφιου κομματιού της κυπριακής υπαίθρου μέσα στο πυκνό αστικό κέντρο της Βενετίας, αποτελεί από μόνη της ένα δυνατό σχόλιο και προσφέρει μια δυναμική βιωματική εμπειρία. Η απόμακρη τοποθεσία του περιπτέρου από τα Giardini/Arsenale και η κεντρική του θέση στον αστικό ιστό της Βενετίας, αποτελεί μια αντίφαση που μπορεί να αξιοποιηθεί εφόσον το εκθεσιακό υλικό σχετίζεται με την Μπιενάλε, αλλά το κομμάτι της στάσης/αναψυχής του κεντρικού χώρου απευθύνεται στην ίδια την πόλη. Επαναπροσδιορίζοντας το status quo των εκθεσιακών πρακτικών, η πρότασή μας ερευνά τις δυνατότητες μεικτών τεχνικών αναπαράστασης, όπως ο συνδυασμός οπτικοακουστικού και φυσικού υλικού, η άμεση παράθεση τοπίων και στιγμιοτύπων, καθώς και η συμμετοχή του επισκέπτη καθ’ όλη τη διάρκεια της έκθεσης. Ως εκ τούτου, η έκθεση ως σύνολο πηγάζει από την δομή της κάτοψης και επεκτείνει τις δυνατότητες του χώρου.
Ο κεντρικός χώρος του περιπτέρου αναπαριστά ένα φυσικό τοπίο της κυπριακής υπαίθρου. Οι επιμελητές συλλέγουν φυτά, αντικείμενα και οργανωτικές δομές από τη επιτόπια έρευνά τους, τα οποία τα μεταφέρουν στον εσωτερικό χώρο του περιπτέρου με σκοπό να συνθέσουν διαφορετικές εμπειρίες. Το παράδοξο της συνύπαρξης του φυσικού τοπίου και της τεχνητής συνθήκης του εσωτερικού χώρου του διαμερίσματος, η πρόκληση της συνύπαρξης και η ιδιαίτερη συνθήκη της διάδρασης των επισκεπτών, εμπλουτίζουν το περιεχόμενο της έρευνας και διευρύνουν τα όρια της εκθεσιακής πρακτικής. 
Η κατοίκηση του κεντρικού χώρου από τους επισκέπτες υποβοηθάτε από τη χρήση τεσσάρων τραπεζιών, τα οποία μπορούν να συνδυαστούν με διάφορους τρόπους και να πλαισιώσουν διαφορετικές δραστηριότητες. Η έννοια του τραπεζιού συνδέεται άμεσα με τη κυπριακή ύπαιθρο και την πρακτική της συνάθροισης, της σίτισης και της συνδιαλλαγής. Ως πυκνωτής κοινωνικών δράσεων και ως συμβολισμός, το τραπέζι παραπέμπει επίσης σε μια πλατφόρμα συζήτησης και διαλόγου γύρω από το θέμα του περιπτέρου. 
Οι δορυφορικοί χώροι έκθεσης φέρουν το υλικό της έρευνας. Ο καταμερισμός της θεματικής τους θα προτείνεται να γίνει με βάση τις τρεις κυριότερες κατηγορίες υπαίθρου, έτσι όπως τις ορίζουν οι επιμελητές: πεδινά/αγροτικά, ορεινά/κτηνοτροφικά και παραθαλάσσια/τουριστικά τοπία. Η έκθεση του υλικού θα χρησιμοποιεί μεικτούς και διαδραστικούς τρόπους αναπαράστασης και θα προσαρμόζεται ανάλογα με τις ανάγκες της κάθε θεματικής. 
     

ΕΡΕΥΝΑ

Το ερευνητικό υλικό του περιπτέρου προβλέπεται να συλλεχθεί σε δύο  θεματικά στάδια. Το πρώτο στάδιο της έρευνας θα περιλαμβάνει ένα οδοιπορικό στην κυπριακή ύπαιθρο, με σκοπό την άμεση επαφή με το τοπίο, τους κατοίκους και τον κυπριακό πολιτισμό. Με απευθείας καταγραφή εμπειριών, μέσω συνεντεύξεων και συλλογή οπτικοακουστικού υλικού θα σημειωθούν χαρακτηριστικά στιγμιότυπα της καθημερινότητας της υπαίθρου. Το δεύτερο στάδιο της έρευνας θα περιλαμβάνει συμμετοχή φοιτητών και διαφόρων ενδιαφερόντων σε εργαστήρια/workshops που θα έχουν σκοπό την περαιτέρω εμβάθυνση στα καίρια πολιτισμικά και βιωματικά χαρακτηριστικά της ζωής της υπαίθρου. Το τελικό υλικό της έκθεσης θα αποτελεί ένα κράμα των ερευνητικών αποτελεσμάτων προωθώντας ιδέες για το μέλλον και την εξέλιξη της κυπριακής υπαίθρου.


Varna Regional Library, 1st prize competition winner


GENERIC LIBRARY, SPECIFIC PEOPLE

Subtracting a large longitudinal void across a compact orthogonal volume, we propose a symbolic gesture that creates ‘air’, space for the etheric body - the knowledge - to be developed. The open space of knowledge divides therefore the mass of the building into two solid volumes. The backside volume is fragmented in three large zones, so that on the back of the building a ‘spine’ is created, a well-structured verticality that accommodates the archive and the administration. The slabs of the two remaining volumes are shifted; the void is distorted. The ground-based volume is shifted towards the city, opening up knowledge to the public. Geometric contour lines form a climax, bare the library’s fetish, the books and the book stacks. The climax unfolds till the ground floor and expands outside the building. The ’library’ is given back to the city. The floating volume performs as a condensed act of knowledge; an Act On the book; ‘devouring’ the books; absorbing knowledge; learning.

Team: Irgen Salianji, Marina Kounavi, Katerina Petrocheilou, Liana Sofiadi, Karolina Szóstkiewicz
Ground Level Built-up Area: 2 960 m2 Total Area of the Overground Levels: 17 500 m2 Landscaped Areas: 1050 m2 Parking Spots: 330



Cityscape


The city of Varna is a post war city with an extended sea front. The urban fabric presents rich diversity as it encompasses a range of small scale houses and large scale socialist architecture. The area of the competition is surrounded by monumental public buildings, generic socialist housing blocks, houses with red-tiled sloping roofs and various architecture ventures of the last decades. Since a library is an institutional structure that is highly valued by the local community, it is placed on a prominent site next to the main spatial landmark, the Municipality Hall of Varna. The site is located on the national street E87 that places the city in the national road network. This adds extra importance on the new Regional Library building which will be seen by any passing through the city passengers. The strong feature of the site is the Socialist Boulevard, a wide pedestrian zone defined by two green stripes. This urban feature is of major importance for the composition concept, since it belongs to the pedestrian network that links the cultural buildings of the area and acts as unifying zone for the municipality, the new library and the adjacent cultural buildings. Therefore, it becomes an opportunity for the new library building to animate this linear public square in front, by making use of it for open activities, events and exhibitions. 

WHAT IS A LIBRARY? THE NEW ONTOLOGY.

This is the main question we should address to ourselves in order to develop a successful project for the Varna Library. What should a library offer and to whom? Where does its limits start and end, keeping the high quality of services as a benchmark? What means ‘services’ library-wise?


Statement


- Be an incubator. Bulgaria is the country with the lowest percentage of libraries per resident (3,47%) in Europe. We would like to set the beginning of a new era based on the principle of the domino effect: a library can radically alter the intellectual scene of a city, by becoming an urban condenser and a new civic landmark.

- Cause Brain Orgasm. The new digital/online area requires well trained digital literacy tutors that can navigate the users within the complex, vast, online resources. Remember ‘the good staff isn’t always online, and it isn’t always free’. Apart from the library’s infrastructure, the library’s service model will be adapted; to be proactive about your user’s needs, and organize or update the resources in a more effective, thus being always relevant. The aim of the library is to produce well resourced population. ‘The new infrastructure creates space for an epistemology embracing integration of knowledge consumption, thinking and making’.

- Act as Node. The infrastructure acts as learning hub that attracts people to meet, interact, socialize, and work together. On a second level, the library functions as a tourist meeting point, where visitors meet and enjoy a relaxing time, checking out exhibitions, playing with multimedia, drinking coffee and getting informed for the city’s attractions and happenings.

- Be ubiquitous; quaquaversal; A digital community is established that connects the physical structure with the city; it can be a network system that gives access to the library’s resources via internet from home, or through physical info points spread around the urban fabric. New outreach programs that can be supported by the new space are invented to brand the library in a wider range of possible users.  It is of paramount importance to think beyond walls and reach out to people.

Be an enabler; a connector. Using the physical proximity with the local government can set a new interactive and mutually informing relationship. In addtition, place the library in the centre of the cultural system and forge collaborations and partnerships with the rest cultural organisations, to make a focus for each organisation and its resources to the point. This could lead to the emergence of an urban cultural momentum. As Jennifer J. Salopek puts it, this is the ‘opportunity to leverage our expertise to support the critical missions of our institutions’. 



Concept

The act of subtracting a large longitudinal void across the compact orthogonal volume suggests a symbolic gesture that creates ‘air’, space for the etheric body - the knowledge - to be developed. The open space of knowledge divides therefore the mass of the building into two solid volumes, one in front of the Boulevard and one in the backside of the site. The back volume is fragmented in three large zones, so that on the back of the building a ‘spine’ is created, a well-structured verticality that accommodates the fundamental parts of the library - the archive and the administration.
The slabs of the two remaining volumes are shifted; the void is distorted.
The ground-based volume is shifted towards the city, opening up knowledge to the public. Artificial, geometrical contour lines, forming a climax, bare the library’s fetish, the books and the book stacks; it is about the embracement and protection of the book.  The climax unfolds till the ground floor and expands outside the building. The ’library’ is given back to the city. This linear zone (Lobby) is the most public space of the building.
The floating volume, a condensed act of knowledge, is shifted towards the Source; an Act On the book; ‘devouring’ the books; absorbing knowledge; learning. 

Organisation

Each level bears its own programmatic function. The cutting through void allows the transmission of light into the heart of the building, but also strong visual connections between floors and spaces. A ramp connects the ground, the first and the second floor of the building. This diagonal axis alters the quality of the space, creating a dynamic flow. Programmatically it connects the most pubic part of the building, the ground floor, with the children’s and teenager’s space. Bridges on every level interconnect the reading rooms with the bookshelves areas. The vertical volume, the administration and the archive, structured in a denser way, can be accessed on all levels both through the building, but also form a separate entrance in the side road. The core interconnects vertically the archive, the administration and the loading zone, however each of these zones maintains different levels of accessibility and autonomy. The biggest mass of the books and book stacks is accommodated on and within the climax volume. Among the bookshelves there are silent reading places. More diverse reading places can be found on the high raised level.

Entering the building the visitor finds himself in the lobby, a linear zone that takes over the whole front of the building and develops along with the parallel, linear square in front of the building. The lobby zone offers access to two different options: 1) on the left reaching firstly the ramp that leads the visitor to the upper levels, but also a zone of all the loud, group work and hand-on activities – registration/information desk, the souvenir shop, hobby zone, training center, conference rooms, individual work station, copy center, 2) on the right reaching the open, public, social zone - auditorium, exhibition area (storage), dressing rooms, stage storage, customer service, kitchenette, and storage.

The first part of the ramp leads to the first level, where an entrance zone welcomes the visitor to a second copy center, the serials desk and the IT lab. The first level accommodates the children zone – book collection and reading places, reading, games and events area, area for parents, circulation and reference desk, outdoor reading and playing area. 
 A second ramp takes the visitor to the second level, the teenagers’ space – book collection and reading places, reference books, study and individual work area, hobby zone, circulation and reference desk, office desk and office supervisor. Parallel to the second level begins the above floating volume that accommodates few bookshelves and mostly reading places.
 The access to the third floor is achieved by a round staircase. Different programmatic groups compose this level on both volumes; the Arts and Media center, the American corner and the Deutsche Lesesaal – the library items collection, hobby zone, circulation and reference desk for each one. The specialized reading areas are also placed on this floor – the local history and the rare and valuable documents (reading area, storage, and circulation and reference desk).
  A small amphitheater brings the user from the third to the forth and fifth level which is exclusively dedicated to the adults section -book collections and reading places, individual and group work areas, circulation and reference desk. The fifth floors provides access to the sixth floor where a small pavilion resides, along with a small café, interior and outdoor reading areas.






















See more:
Official Competition Website
Plataforma Arquitectura
A as Architecture
Bustler