Bethan Ring

Piraeus Cruise Terminal | Piraeus, Greece| Unit 21 | 2019

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The shipping and cruise port in the Athens, Greece has recently been purchased by Chinese company COSCO as part of their ‘New Silk Road Initiative’ providing the opportunity for the transformation of the area as an important stop along this new trade route. Although the number of cruise passengers has doubled in recent years, the growth rate in Piraeus lags behind the average in Mediterranean cruise ports. Despite its success in attracting cruise passengers and significant benefits for Greece and Athens, the local economic benefits from the cruise industry remain low with tourists usually bypassing the area in favour of the centre of Athens where the major tourist attractions are located. In addition to this, there is an often contentious relationship between the city and the cruise ships due to their scale and environmental impact.
The building proposes a new cruise terminal for Piraeus – one that addresses not only the needs of the passengers but also of the local community and aims to improve the ship-city relationship. A mixture of community facilities will be integrated with the arrival and departure of cruise passengers in Athens with the two programmes linked so that tourists can also be included in and experience the local culture.
The building is designed to slope up as an extension of the landscape reaching the height that will shield the massive form of a cruise ship. This is created with a megastructure in which the programme can be inserted and the facade is then formed of several modules which can expand and contract depending on when a ship is in port. Each module can operate for two functions – for locals of for tourists.
The regeneration of an area of a city can often bring with it difficulty balancing between the potential gains of a development and those who already live there. Overall the project seeks to investigate how large scale developments can integrate with existing communities and how infrastructure can also incorporate and benefit an already existing local population.
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