Connection VII is an addition of new facilities in the research center ‘NCSR DEMOKRITOS’. The objectives of the interventions and this dissertation are:
1. The harmonization with the natural environment of Hymettus.
2. The reinforcement of the research center’s operation with new complementary importance spaces - presentation and research centers, relaxation areas, athletic facilities, accommodation and,
3. The bridging of the urban with the natural landscape through the usage of research and education infrastructures.
The contribution of nature to mental and physical health is not a new idea. The research center of DEMOKRITOS is chosen as the starting point and the new facilities aim to create environmentally friendly spaces, in the form of an addition to the already existing academic institution. Therefore, the new complex includes 7 main building infrastructures and another 5 open space interventions. The new facilities host functions responsible for highlighting and promoting science and its research project to the general public while simultaneously, are inspired by the surrounding landscape, thus making this center a model of a contemporary academic infrastructure.
Connection VII aims to offer the visitor a comprehensive experience of knowledge regarding the natural landscape and the natural sciences. Nature, in its broadest sense, refers to the phenomenon of the natural world and life in general. The term contains an anthropocentric conception and because of it, today's architecture must once again include the natural element as a fundamental principle of design.
Having Hymettus’s rich vegetation and natural environment as background for the new spaces, a new form of interaction with nature is created. The invited researchers are accommodated in the 'ketones', a hotel complex in the form of bungalows, where the natural element occupies most of the room's interior. The ‘solution’ is the central dining area with numerous vertical gardens, while the speeches of distinguished scientists take place in the ‘core’, the central amphitheater with the flowered stands. The 'transmitter' translates as the open exhibition space of work and dissertations of Democritus, while students and teachers gather in the 'collectors' for experimentation and transmission of knowledge, as they are the central laboratories of the complex. The 'nucleon' hosts all the seasonal activities of the research center but can also be used as a relaxation area for visitors due to its gradient construction with a projection screen at its base.
The basic building infrastructures are complemented by outdoor interventions such as ‘amines’, an open space in the form of a gazebo, or the ‘aldehydes’, a cultivation area for horticultural plants as a more regulated form of planting. The athletic facilities of Democritus are upgraded, as two new bicycle paths connect the new areas with the existing walking routes of Hymettus. The complex is connected both conceptually and practically with the city and the site's landscape, with the help of a continuous walk that crosses through the whole intervention.
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