THESSALONIKI: FOLDED FORCE: REVELATIONS: The 2015 Greece AA Visiting School Review

by Alexandros Kallegias, AA Greece Visiting School Director
01 September 2016 Thessaloniki, Greece   The AA Visiting School is being implemented on a global scale in recent years with great success while carrying a predominantly cosmopolitan pedagogical approach. Before the programme travels to Chania in October 2016, the AA Greece Visiting School visited the city of Thessaloniki. In the case of Thessaloniki the theme "Revelations» has been an experimental architectural installation, as the result of an intensive workshop focusing on generative architectural design and digital manufacturing, involving architectural students and graduates from Greece and abroad.   Eos_01   Furthermore the AA Greece Visiting School included a lecture series by a set of distinguished architects from the international arena. Joris Pauwels gave a lecture representing Zaha Hadid Architects and Dr. Marjan Colletti spoke in his capacity as a professor at the Bartlett School of Architecture in London and the School of Architecture at the University of Innsbruck.   The installation "Eos» (Ηώς) is an experimental prototype of architectural design and construction, organised as a collaboration between the Department of Architecture AUTH and the AA. The project was designed and fabricated on the premises of AUTH, with the use of their Digital Design and Construction Laboratory. The complete installation was presented as a public exhibition in the Teloglion Foundation for Fine Arts Museum.   The focus of this scientific design programme has been on the use of digital fabrication via computational design for the creation of a series of parametric proposals on interactive and kinetic morphologies. Within the span of 10 days, Eos (Ηώς), an architectural prototype was developed and fabricated; the design process explored the limits and correlations between architectural design, technical expertise and modern digital construction. Cultural and environmental elements were integrated in the design highlighting a number of topics of contemporary reflection.   Eos_02   Eos is structured as a frame made of 123 pieces of composite wood (MDF) that have been digitally designed and constructed. The component-based prototype has its’ different “cells” covered with Lycra, which is then fixed in multiple places. Arduino micro-controllers that were assembled by the participants enable independent interactive features by ensuring movements on Eos’ surface in selected locations. Apart from the motor mechanisms, the prototype incorporates visual animations, which arise from investigations of Thessaloniki’s urban fabric and are 3D mapped and projected on Eos. Thus visitor participation and interaction is encouraged through the controlled movements and visuals of the surfaces in real time.   The implementation of the prototype Eos was made via a participatory process with successive comparative approaches and multiple alternative experiments that yielded a series of very interesting intermediate sketches, drawings and models. These are part of the first stage of the Greece Visiting School where design proposals were formed from separate groups of participants, which also were exhibited in the Teloglion Fine Arts Museum. Each of these proposals is described in more detail below.   Benn or Bending the Grid (Grigoriadis George, Rossikopoulou-Pappa Stella, Sotiriou Joanna, Triantafyllidou Magda) Acknowledging the Grid as a paradoxical system where its own theoretical yet possible forms are superimposed over the real construction it promises in its two-dimensionality, our team decided to research a component that would materialise this amplitude of spatial metamorphosis. After fabricating a static linear component, translating the Grid atom -the line- into a mere object, we moved forward in a quest for that one alteration that would unlock the third dimension for our component and ultimately, our new system. Flexibility played a critical role at that point since our static linear component had restricted abilities due to the rigidity of the material in use. By applying certain cutting patterns on the material, the desired flexibility was achieved, giving the new system the ability to expand in three dimensions.  
Benn_01   Reinforced Data (Christos Kakouros, Maria Petsani, Artemis Psaltoglou, Giannis Sxoinas) Seeing the city as a whole we realise the differentiability of the area in different places in terms of its density. After researching through different maps and data of the city, we analyse the density of Thessaloniki through three parameters: first, the relationship between the built and unbuilt, second the traffic network and, finally, the land uses of the city. Different places across our system are less or more dense depending on the location of the area. The ink that is inside our three main cores continuously stimulates our machine. Where the city is less dense there is less ink inside the tubes. By taking the visitor around the design there is a chance of communicating the whole concept as well as the whole city.   Reinforced-Data_02   Snowflake (Safi Omarov, Maria Christopoulou, Georgia Skartadou, Katerina Kotsampasi) Our team first approached the project by finding the Vergina Sun, an image or a form that was imbedded in the historical and cultural context of Thessaloniki. From here, we found isometric triangles converging at a central focal point and explored what we could do with these triangles from within a circle. With the hexagon being our base polygon we decided to layer and form geometric clusters. Having broken down our hexagon and reformed it, we learnt from the spider web and the snowflake. We explored how we could apply the layering of the hexagon and how we could start to use different variables to add more kinetic value to our form. We decided on light and its changes in levels throughout the day. After compiling our statistics we were able to create relevant gradients and clusters to the cellular structure.   Snowflake_01   Purple_GRAvityDEfied (Stavros Kasimatis, Eirini Sapka, Joanne Spyridi, Konstantina Tsagkaratou) The main design ambition of our team was to create an installation that would not only be impressive and sculptural but also responsive and friendly. We aimed for a large scale design that would convey information about university life, the beating heart of Thessaloniki. The design was achieved by the use of fabric, a softer and more adaptable material that would respond to the visitors’ movement in real time. In the form-finding process, both digital and physical models were used. After extensive tests, a tree-like form was chosen, in order to highlight the importance of the university in Thessaloniki’s grid and also for aesthetic and structural reasons. The design can adapt and refer to any environment that it is placed within by the use of a different grid and attractors, while maintaining its general form and concept.   Team-Purple_GRAvityDEfied_02
Team Thalassa (Anna Rizou, Emmanouil Megalooikonomou, Dimitrios Chatzinikolis, Niki Papacharalampous) Our intention was to create a “water” film that interacts with human presence. We invented a fluid surface that simulated the crossing of the room by users, as if water was materially present. In order to fabricate our vibrating surface, we designed a performative skin consisting of wooden elements deriving from the mesh triangulation that were attached to a flexible membrane. The membrane plays the role of an overall hinge with high potential, expanding and shrinking according to external forces, as well as form-finding necessities. This constructive system permits multi-axis tension, rotation and all that lies within the deformation limits of the Lycra fabric. Additionally, we visualised an underwater atmosphere using 3d mapping projection that interacts with the user via proximity sensors. During the prototyping process we experimented with isometric and non-uniform grids, with various material thicknesses and eventually with connection techniques of the panels to the fabric. Finally, we have considered the permeability possibilities for the surface of the panels, by means of using simple frames, penetration patterns or just taking advantage of the transparency rate of the stretched fabric.   Thalassa_01   The Passage (Evdoxia Besmerti, Marina Dimopoulou, Dimitris Kollaros, Georgia Strinopoulou) The perception of Thessaloniki as a passage during the ages, led us to collect data from the last decades relating to the movement of population within the city. Our ambition was also to create a portal in space because the area itself is a passage to the exhibition hall. We put the numeric data of the population movement as fluids in space, indicating three different directions and then isolated the areas of densities. These densities were transferred as projections and recesses on the final surface. Through formal experiments, the final structure has 3 main layers: a stable base that represents the skeleton, curvy components that through multiplication fit onto the base and create a smooth surface that "flows" in space, and then lycra that gently covers the structure. To further develop this project, a kinetic component or projection mapping related to the data collected from the city, could be considered to highlight the curvature of the structure in the area that it was designed for, should it be moved to a different space.   The-Passage_02   Special thanks to: Alexandros Kallegias, AA Greece Visiting School Director Dr. Christopher Pierce, Director of the AA Visiting School programme Teaching team: Alexandros Kallegias, Yue Shi, Eirini Vouliouri, Elina Pattihichi, Arsenis Zachariades Alexandros Tsolakis and Sylvia Georgiadou Host school coordinators from the Department of Architecture AUTH: Nikos Kalogerou, Stavros Vergopoulos and Anastasios Tellios. Fabrication: Dinos Pavlidis and Vasilis Zafranas of the Digital Design Laboratory Construction. Students/ Participants in AAVS Greece: George Grigoriadis, Marina Dimopoulos Christos Kakouros Stavros-Grigorios Kasimatis-Voutiras Dimitris Kollaros, Catherine Mary Kotsampasi, Emmanuel Megalooikonomou, Evdoxia Besmerti, Niki Papacharalambous, Maria Petsani, Anna Rizou, Styliani Rossikopoulou-Pappas, Irene Daphne Sapka, Georgia Skartadou, Joanna Spyridi, Georgia Strinopoulos, Joanna Sotiriou, Ioannis Schinas, Magda Triandafyllidou, Konstantina- Stella Tsagkaratou, Dimitrios Chatzinikolas, Maria Christopoulou, Artemis Psaltoglou, Safi Omarov.   For more information: AAVS Greece 2016 Brief AAVS Greece Microsite Apply to AAVS Greece 2016 Like AAVS Greece on Facebook