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Sumit Singhal
Sumit Singhal
Sumit Singhal loves modern architecture. He comes from a family of builders who have built more than 20 projects in the last ten years near Delhi in India. He has recently started writing about the architectural projects that catch his imagination.

Invisible Hotel/ Transparent City in Athens, Greece by blp architects

 
March 5th, 2014 by Sumit Singhal

Article source: blp architects

Invisibility is essentially a question of transparency.

In 1963 Colin Rowe in his article Transparency: Literal and Phenomenal set the framework: \”At the beginning of any inquiry into transparency, a basic distinction must perhaps be established. Transparency may be an inherent quality of substance- as in a wire mesh or glass curtain wall, or it may be an inherent quality of organization\”. As an organization quality \”transparency means a simultaneous perception of different spatial locations\”.

Image Courtesy © blp architects

  • Architects: blp architects (Iro Bertaki Christina Loukopoulou Costis Paniyiris)
  • Project: Invisible Hotel/ Transparent City
  • Location:  Athens, Greece
  • Invited competition entry: January 2005
  • Exhibition: DESTE Foundation for Contemporary Art, Athens: April 2005

Image Courtesy © blp architects

The hotel can be literally invisible only as much as its construction materials are transparent. Or it can be phenomenally transparent as an integral part of an ambiguous entity. The transparent city is the field of simultaneous spatial perceptions. Spaces overlap and events concur.

Image Courtesy © blp architects

The hotel as resort and hub of urban looseness implies qualities of scale, iconography and program that in many ways do not match with the inarticulate Athenian urban chaos. According to Rowe, the design will have to address these issues as \”clearly ambiguous\”, rather than settle for an ambiguous clarity.

Image Courtesy © blp architects

The in-visible hotel is made of the same materials Athens is made: balconies, narrow building volumes, maximum building code height, congestion. The omnipresent balcony bends and becomes personal swimming pool in the suite wings or interior corridor spiderweb capturing the public functions. Everything happens within extralong volumes 15m wide by 27m high that traverse through city blocks and over streets, on a site that follows existing openings and imagined real estate bargains. The city’s ordinary elements, applied on a different programmatic and finacial level, are remoulded into instruments of leisure.

Image Courtesy © blp architects

Hotel and city intermesh in a transparent fabric where figures alternate roles between foreground and background. Visibility retreats in favour of recognition, and the architectural focus shifts from visible object to recognizable pattern.

Image Courtesy © blp architects

The design of the hotel is a continuous design of pattern. From section and elevation to an endless series of choices of wire meshes, wallpaper, carpets, napkins. The proposal attempts to consolidate this process on the basis of a single urban concept.

Image Courtesy © blp architects

Image Courtesy © blp architects

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