Jay McAllister

Architecture MArch (Hons)

Elemental Alchemy - Reconstructing The Athenian Neighbourhood


Jay McAllister

Climatic change is effecting the world more than ever before, and Athens has been no exception to these changes. Every year, flash floods across Athens displace hundreds of residents from their homes and shut off parts of the city, causing businesses to close and destruction throughout the city - with many losing their lives. 

But what if the city could literally rise above the floods? This proposal sees the introduction of a new intervention that will protect existing green spaces, responds to current government initiatives regarding climate change, introduces flood control while allowing nature to still take its course. 

By analysing precedents such as OKRA’s Re-Think Athens, Ludwig Karl Hilberseimer’s High Rise City, and Ildefons Cerda’s Barcelona Block, this 5-minute city reconstructing the Athenian block was able to come to fruition.

Board 01

Introduction with Poetic Image of a flooded Athens, render of site and location diagrams

Giving context to the project, I began by analysing all of the green spaces in Athens, and imagining what the city would look like when floods take over. Analysis of the site included a "5-minute city" diagram highlighting the character of the area.

Board 02

Site masterplan highlighting features such as recovered river, public courtyard, site, secondary green space, and new city block layout

The proposed masterplan of the site includes uncovering a buried river to allow for flood control, a new proposed parameter city block, and a green corridor for pedestrians to enjoy the city while naturally cooling the street level.

Board 03

Key move diagrams highlighting secondary green space, flood control, and new city block. Render at bottom of page showing proposed building and green spaces

Board 04

Four sectional diagrams highlighting features such as courtyrad space, density, walk-in access and penthouse. Large render at bottom of page shows balcony with views over new green space and river.

A deeper understanding of the function of the new city block allows for public and private courtyard access, high and low density areas, walk-in access to lower level shops and cafes, and a penthouse floor located at the top of the buildings. These features allow for improved quality of built environment.

Board 05

Large exploded axonometric drawing of flat block showing each floor.

An exploded axonometric drawing of a proposed flat block allowing a deeper understanding of the block's connection to the street. The block is designed to float in the event of heavy flooding in the area.

Board 06

Three small section drawings of hinge that floats street with technical details to the right of each section. Large render at the bottom showing a view from the green space looking up to the proposed flat block.

The technical sections show exactly how the floating street would work, showing examples of various pitches and how a mechanical flood barrier would rise to allow for continued use of the street throughout a flood.