Bar Restaurant Kouzina Cine Psirri A small open-air cinema in the heart of the most rising neighbourhood in Athens, an old stone masonry building with a rooftop that secretly overlooks the life of this city. Originally this two-storey building housed some of the first wine cellars of Athens, whereas the small, low ceiling basement constantly brings to mind images of the prisons of Piranesi. Later in time the space was converted to a wheel-cart manufacturing place, and finally to a carpenters shop. A space which despite its changing history of function managed to keep its identity intact. The intervention that was adopted intended to make known this particular building identity which had not only to do with function but more so with the form and atmosphere of the building. No artifices were employed that would refer to the building’s original usage. The main conception of the team involved basing the design primarily on honesty and the intention of allowing the building to continue to emit its timelessness. Emphasis was especially placed on structurally reinforcing the existing structural components from foundation level to roof level by means of the most contemporary building technology available today in concrete and wall reinforcement. The interventions made are visible, hiding nothing so as to reveal their purpose. The stone masonry walls are kept as chaste as possible, the metal loft exposes every detail of its construction, while the same simplistic design approach is employed in details and cross sections for the two metal staircases defining vertical circulation. Even the ventilation ductwork ascending on the walls and the ceiling is always exposed and constitutes part of the morphology of the space. In the background to the right, a staircase leads to the building roof top – a garden for dining during the summer season. The metal window frames refer to the industrial era and allow unobstructed light passage which upon hitting the wooden floor levels and masonry walls articulates their timeless surfaces. The glass opening in the centre of the roof creates a band of light that penetrates the building vertically, reaching ground floor level and finally passing through a respective glass floor surface to illuminate the wine cellar in the basement. The use of lighting both natural and technical adheres to the same logic of the overall scheme, that which seeks out the minimal and simplicity by the most natural means. A vintage movie projector and various cinema posters make reference to the atmosphere of the open-air cinema which operates in the outdoor area during the summer season. Heavy wooden shelving running from ceiling to floor, cloistral-like furniture, fine food and wine from small individual wine vaults complete the overall image of a space realized by the intentions of the design team in conjunction with the substantial suggestions of Dino Augoustidis, one of the main shareholders of the operation, with the intent of facilitating and providing hospitality towards the customer. The space is generally the “empty vessel” of Le Corbusier, which awaits to be filled by human emotions as opposed to decorative artefacts – the space comes to life with light, with conversation and the movement of people, it is the white screen of the movie theatre merely wanting to project upon itself the spirit of the people who fill it with their magical presence.
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