papalampropoulos syriopoulou

THE MAGICAL STAIRCASE & THE MASK

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Status: Architectural Competition / HONOURABLE MENTION / Municipality of Thessaloniki
Program: Municipal Kindergarten & Social Services building

Area: 700 sq.m.

Year: 2021

Location: Thessaloniki, Greece

Architect: Leonidas Papalampropoulos, Georgia Syriopoulou

Structural engineer: Anastasios-Panagiotis Markopoulos

Mechanical engineer: Maria Mageirou

Geologist Engineer: Dimitris Argyriou

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INTERIORITY | the typology of the “magical” staircase


The project exploits the typology of the double staircase which comprises of two opposing staircases placed crosswise. This “magical stair”, as developed by Leonardo Da Vinci in the Renaissance, allows for the resolution of the vertical circulation of the distinct functions (kidengarden and communal services) and theorganization of the plan by occupying the minimum footprint.

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Kindergarten | Entrance
Kindergarten | Auxiliary spaces
Social services | Daycare for the elderly
Social services | Library
Kindergarten | Infant care
Social services| Entrance
(Daycare for the elderly & Municipal Library)
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EXTERIORITY | the function of the mask


The “magical”sign of the staircase emerges from the concealment of its mechanism through the function of the mask in the form of a metal lattice that dresses the front and rear façade of the building. The mask forms a garment which can construct complex narrative characters (Hedjuk), can reinstate the continuity between the differentiation of the private and the homogeneity of the city (Loos) and create the base for a dialogue between the private and the public sphere (Jung).

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Conceptual Framework

The competition brief poses a challenging architectural puzzle: the conciliation of the restrictions of the urban context and the tight plot, the extensive but vital
for the area functional requirements and the resulting co-existence of the different functions of a kidengarden, a municipal library and communal services for
the elderly within such a restrained space.

The proposal adopts the design methodology of Adolf Loos according to which the internal structure (INTERIORITY) of a building complex and
it’s envelope (EXTERIORITY) are two distinct narrative entities: the envelope’s function as a “MASK” allows for the emergence of the complex and
multilayered processes of the internal organism
.