BOTANICAL MUSEUM OF ATHENS

Academic, 2016

Athens, Greece

Running through the center of Athens, the Eridanos River is engaged in a quiet rebellion. Interred by the development of modern Attica, its course is defiant of the world above it. The river continues to endure, as an unseen element, and as a drawing in the landscape.

This Botanical museum takes the Eridanos as its backbone. The historical pathway of the river is revived by marking it and in a very literal sense bringing it into the light. This marker is a Botanical Museum, which is defined by masses divided either by the current flow of the river, or by the memory of its flow. The internal spaces are organized around a filigree stair- suspended over a fountain created from the rubble of the walls of the ancient city and the still living eridanos. The collection- is meant to be experienced sectionally- Greece is a mountainous country and her landscapes are experienced via altitude.

The building has an underbelly-it faces northwest to swallow the gentler sunlight and blocks off its southern facade with solid panels of stone. The visitor is brought into the space through an extension of the streetscape galleries (urban hallways) that run beneath the ubiquitous Polykatoikies- this path becomes the main circulation, snaking around the programmed spaces and summiting at the library.

The technical considerations of creating a pool out of springwater are facilitated by the infrastructural works of the historical city. The river still courses through a historical aqueduct. A system of pipes and filters bring water into the pool, where it passes over gravel and other stones. This is then gathered and the flow resumes along its course under Mitropoulos avenue until deltaic emergence in Kerameikos where it joins the Kifissos Watershed and subsequently terminates in the bay of Faliro.

For a moment, the Eridanos emerges articulated in an architectural space.