Public Use, Transportation Hub, Conference Centre
Approved by the Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund
1st Prize International Competition
The Metropolitan Seaplane Port of Attica (MSPA) will be the largest seaplane transportation infrastructure in Europe and one of the largest in the world. It is located in Elefsina currently an environmentally distressed industrial area, easily accessible from the main airport of Athens and the city centre. Inspired by the city’s symbolisms and past, our vision was to change current perceptions of Elefsina and create a contemporary landmark to highlight its transition from industrial to sustainable development.
The flights will cover more than 88 destinations in remote and popular islands and towns in mainland Greece near sea and lakes, developing a network of flight destinations that have never existed before; a groundbreaking public project which will revolutionise national transport and bolster the Greek tourism industry.
Our design reflects its innovative character and aims to create a new DNA for infrastructure buildings and transit stations, where the travellers’ experience starts the very first moment they enter the building. The new hybrid building will also accommodate a high-end conference centre, art galleries and exhibition spaces aiming to act as a vibrant beam of civilization, as well as a cultural hub for local residents, professionals and travellers.
The mass of the building is arranged in a circular layout, unfolding linearly along the pier. It is designed for visitors to navigate easily enjoying 360 degrees vistas of the Saronic Gulf, the city of Elefsina and the island of Salamina.
Elefsina, both etymologically and historically, is connected with the concept of transition. According to Greek Mythology, Persephone is abducted by god Pluto and is taken the land of the Dead. Her mother, Demeter, the goddess of fertility, in search of her daughter finds her in Elefsina. The city is transformed into a place of worship of the goddess and a point of reference for all of Greece, where the most sacred initiation ceremony of antiquity, the Elefsinian Mysteries, unfolds.
Upon entering the building, the travellers find themselves in an interior patio, flooded with abundant natural light, consisted of two architectural elements that interrelate and refer to the complex geomorphology of the country and to the myth of Demeter:
1. The ‘social contours’ created as an embossed layout on the floor of the atrium include amphitheatrical seating, planting and integrated displays with information.
2. The ‘sky garden’, which consists of a glass roof in which “timber” vessels with planting “float” as “islands” of green.
These two elements define an interesting “intermediate” space, of movement, exploration, interaction and communication which includs shops, seating areas and the check-in desks.
Moving towards the gateways along the main jetty, the traveller meets the organically designed waiting areas overlooking the seaplanes and yachts on either side.
Interspersed with arrays of smaller scale gardens with endemic Mediterranean plants, such as lavender, thyme, almond and olive trees, the atriums underline the sustainable character of the building and allow travellers to witness seasonal changes as part of the interior.
The single waiting area maintains its functional requirements and is treated as a seamless extension of the pier and the sea surrounding the building.
The building will incorporate a double bioclimatic façade, a planted roof, PV and other renewable energy sources to cover its electricity, heating, cooling needs and hot water production, as well as construction materials of a low carbon footprint.
The Metropolitan Seaplane Port will contribute to the upgrading of the wider region, boosting the local economy and creating new jobs, signifying a powerful social change. The new landmark will contribute to the rebirth of Elefsina, its detachment from its recent past and its transformation into a modern sustainable European city.