The completion in 2009 of the Cultural Centre turned into reality the vision of world famous (Electra, Zorba the Greek, Stella, The Cherry Orchard, Hamlet etc.) film and theatre director Michael Cacoyannis and has vindicated the aims of the Michael Cacoyannis Foundation – “Support for the arts of theatre and cinema”, “the recording and saving of the creations of these arts” and “the bolstering of European cinematography”. The objective was to create a building that would be flexible and friendly for its users and inviting for the neighbourhood.
The Cultural Centre has 4 superstructure floors, 2 basements and a roof terrace. The building comprises a 330-seat theatre, a 125-seat conventional cinema, a multi-function hall (the “Black Box”) seating up to 80 persons depending on the layout, exhibition spaces, video room, restaurant, roof-top cinema, offices and two parking levels. The total covered area is 7000m².
Defining elements of the design are the three-level internal court, the recessing of the building which allows for the creation of a forecourt linking the city with the building’s activities and the continuously changing visual impressions through projections on walls and colour transformations at night.
The Piraeus St. façade has two vertical planes. It is in effect a twin façade. Its dominating element is the curved metal structure in the shape of a “Π” with four columns. This three-floor high structure is placed “free” in front of the main façade. At night, this semi-detached element can be brightly lit or can become darker, thus projecting itself, like a theatre curtain, onto the more luminous façade proper. In this way the overall street front of the building becomes variable depending on the desired effect for each specific event.
The three-floor court at the centre of the building extends from ground floor level to the top of the second floor. All three principal foyers are “open” to this court ensuring the visual interconnection of the diverse functions of the cultural centre.
Special characteristics of the theatre are its amphitheatrical layout, the steepness of the seating tiers and the non-elevated stage, factors that are conducive to bringing audience and actors closer together. The overall morphology of stage and seating refers to ancient theatres with the difference that a technologically equipped ceiling has taken the place of the open sky. For its theatrical use, the stage is transformed into a black three-sided enclosure. Two alternative ways are provided for the participation in the action of a contemporary “deus ex machina” one via a trap-door on the stage floor and another “suspended” through an opening in the ceiling.
Innovative materials chosen for this project include, among others, the specially designed 1.50m long reflective prismatic ceiling elements of the main foyers, the 75x75cm limestone external and internal cladding with its first-ever 3cm deep split-face final surface and the use of LED technology (white & RGB) for the external lighting of the building. Among the environment-friendly provisions is the reduction of the cooling load of the foyers achieved through the rejection, by means of natural draft, of the internal court warm air.
C.Akriviadis, G.Oikonomopoulos, O.Orneraki, E.Paravas