Piraeus Tower is the second tallest tower (257 feet) in Greece waiting to find its ideal use since 1972. As it seems, locals were finally introduced to the new face and the new potentials of this extremely high building just before the expiration of 2020.
The 84-meter-tall Sleeping Giant (as most locals call it) is located in the port of Piraeus and oversees the entire Saronic Gulf. It was designed by the architects I. Vikelas, G. Molfesis, and A. Loizou. Apart from the first three floors, it had never been occupied or used since 1972.
This 24-story tower remains as one of the most significant landmarks for locals and visitors, in a neighborhood which belongs to the largest port in Europe and one of the largest in the world, the Port of Piraeus. At last, this Ghost Tower found a new destiny after PILA won the competition for the ultimate transformation of the Tower.
This was a significant winning against time decay and abandonment. The condition of a city’s buildings reflects the culture and the aesthetics of an entire nation. Empty spaces and well-designed buildings create the paths in which citizens nurture their lives.
The winning project by PILA promised to transform the existing architecture into a contemporary and dynamic landmark for the Piraeus district. The redesign of Piraeus Tower aims to reflect the vibrancy of this emerging place: “The rebirth of Piraeus Tower is significant not only for Piraeus but for the wider Athens, as it signifies the city moving towards its unique coastline“, said Ilias Papageorgiou, principal of PILA.
Redesign of Piraeus Tower by PILA
The PILA’s proposal envisions a structure that is visually intriguing and incorporates strategies in order to drastically reduce the energy consumption of the building, making Piraeus Tower a 21st Century building.
To further emphasize the transformation of the facade, a shading structure consisting of vertical and horizontal overhang clads will be added. As PILA has already announced on their official website, each vertical fin is designed to be horizontally displaced from one floor to the next, creating a spring pattern that wraps around the building.
The 3D visuals reveal all the details of this unique pattern. It appears to gently slide from one facade to another, with the resulting visual effect of the facade wrapping the tower as a piece of fabric. This dynamic pattern appears different from various locations, creating a rich visual experience that is constantly transforming depending on where one is standing.
The façade new design aims to integrate the structure into the daily life of the city and to enhance the lives of citizens and the users of the building. The Tower is ready to meet its true purpose by embracing the growth of the city and its ongoing structure development.
Looking at the blue sky above, Piraeus never looked so attractive. The new Piraeus Tower is moving forward to a new chapter of its life, carrying with it all the old Agora of the Port.
Piraeus Tower Construction Project Info & Credits
PILA Statement: “The design of the facade overhang system is a result of an ambitious sustainability and energy conservation strategy. Upon a meticulous solar study, the vertical and horizontal louvers of the tower are calibrated in order to reduce solar gain on the facade by 50% resulting in a 20% reduction of the overall energy demand of the building.”
About PILA: PILA is an architecture studio based in Athens and New York that creates environments for culture, working, and living around the world. Visit their official website for more info: www.pila.studio
Project name: Piraeus Tower
Location: Piraeus, Athens, Greece
Client: Dimand SA, Prodea Investments, EBRD
Team: Ilias Papageorgiou, Christina Papalexandri, Iacovina Kontiza, Konstantinos Voutoufianakis Petropoulos, Marina Avouri, Eleni Nikolaou
Façade Engineer: Eckersley O’ Callaghan
Renderings: Konstantinos Koudounis
Area: 322,917 ft2 (30,000 m2)
Program: office, retail, restaurant, terraces
Schedule: expected completion Q1 2023
Setting the market benchmark… Building the first LEED-certified Tower in Greece. The tower is highly obvious as it is one of the city’s landmarks.
As appears at Dimand SA: A full turn-key fit-out of a 32.650 sq.m. 22 stories office tower constructed in 1972, including two basements, retail, restaurants, café, and auxiliary spaces, with a green roof, using high technology materials. Project: 99-year concession, full redevelopment, and commercial exploitation of Piraeus Tower. Location: Piraeus – Attica. Investor: EBRD – PRODEA Investments, REIC – DIMAND SA. Services: Direct Property Development, Full development & project management. Built Area: 29.150 sq.m. (above ground), 3.500 sq.m. (underground). Project Cost: € 75.000.000. Status: In progress.
Note: The binding offer was received, opened, and handled by a municipal committee, as the city of Piraeus owns the property.
YARD Transformed Piraeus Tower into a Lighting Art Installation
YARD is a creative event production house, focusing on pioneering 360o ideas and executions. They are behind the spectacular Piraeus Tower transformation into an interactive Art Installation, during December 2020 – January 2021, for the Christmas celebrations in Piraeus.
When the lights were turned on for the Christmas Celebrations of Piraeus in December 2020, we were amazed by the magnificent art design & installation of Piraeus Tower. For a moment we felt like we were into a time machine and we took a glimpse from the future of Piraeus City.
YARD’s statement from their website:
“The Tower of Piraeus is an emblematic building and the lighthouse of the port of Piraeus as well as the landmark of the city in general. After a year full of changes and challenges, our goal with this project was to give an extra festive vibe in the city and fill people with hope and positivity.
We had the opportunity to collaborate with an amazing group of people and lighting experts in order to study, design, and illuminate this historical building with the latest modern technology. We have presented a lighting installation full of colors and shapes, in order to create a ‘’festive urban jewel’’ highlighting the architecture and the importance of the building itself.
Bringing together innovative technology and creativity, our main goal was to color people’s lives and enhance a joyful and optimistic message.” (Client: DIMAND)
Credits for the Festive Illumination
Festive Illumination by yardathens
Client Dimand SA
Lighting Design George Tellos
Lighting Programmer Panagiotis Tsevrenis
Lighting Equipment Meletis Kariotis
Technical manager David Allaj
Production manager Kostas Thelouras
The biggest port of Europe now has a spectacular Art Installation at Piraeus Tower in Greece.
Art Installation at Piraeus Tower in Greece
This video is capturing the Messages hidden into the Sleeping Giant that waited since 1972 to reveal its true power. Everything takes its own time to transform into something new. Video: Patroklos Stellakis. Project for the SEO Copywriting Agency IDEADECO in Greece.
The History of Piraeus Tower
The Tower was built on the plot where originally was the home of the Municipal Market. The Market was demolished on February 8, 1968, by the mayor of Piraeus, Aristides Skylitsis. At that time the buildings inside the market housed all the local stores in the area, providing jobs to 1000 employees.
In the first years, the demolition brought financial depression in the area and remained an empty plot for about 5 years. During the period (1972 – 1974) Aristides Skylitsis supported the plans of construction for the modern Tower as the new Piraeus Comercial Center, aiming to make the large multistory skyscraper the center of the port. The modern skyscraper consists of 23 floors with a total height of 84 meters, it is the second-largest skyscraper in Attica after the Athens Tower.
The Municipal Market was near the Church of Agia Triada and locals used to call it Agora Agias Triadas. Due to the Metropolitan Church of Piraeus that area used to be the most central and historic district of Piraeus, named after the large market that dominated the area from 1860 to 1968 when it was demolished to build in its place the famous Tower of Piraeus. Even today most locals refer to the area as The Market or Old Agora.
Decades before that period, the entire area was one of the first inhabited when the modern city of Piraeus was created after the liberation of 1821. Particularly, the first inhabitants in the 1830s were residents from Chios Island, who they founded and built (back in 1839) the Metropolitan Church of Piraeus, Agia Triada. The idea for creating a large market was already into consideration from the early 1850s but they finally come to action in 1862 with plans of the city engineer Major I. Triggetas.
The Municipal Market of Piraeus was a rectangular building (94.9 x 27.8 meters) in the triangle between the streets Gounari – Ethnikis Antistaseos – Vassileos Georgiou II Avenue, opposite the large Church of Agia Triada. It was accessible through its three entrances from three different sides and it was housing a number of shops such as fishmongers, bakeries, greengrocers, and butchers in the 4 respective sectors, there were also many eateries and cafes serving customers.
In the evening hours, when the traffic in the market was falling, all the big names of the old rebetes such as Markos Vamvakaris, Vassilis Tsitsanis, and Bagianteras gathered to meet friends and grab a bite. At the time the heart of the city was biting inside the small shops of the Market. In a way, even today, visitors can get the same vibes walking in the side streets around The Tower of Piraeus. A vivid market has expanded around the port and most locals prefer to get their weekly groceries from the remained Old Market stores.
Nowadays, the Municipal Market area is one of the most commercial districts in Greece with high commercial & navy traffic all year round, especially due to its proximity to the main port. Shops and eateries are plentiful on all streets including private clothing stores, eateries, bakeries, travel agencies, shipping companies, and many hotels.
Close to the Tower, there are six main characteristic sights of the area that dominate the entire district. Next to the Piraeus Tower, we can see the Church of Agia Triada, the Zanneio Orphanage for Boys (is located inside and opposite the lines of ISAP), the Catholic Church of St. Paul, and the old Post Office of Piraeus. Also, the classical architectural building seen on the right side of the Tower is the neoclassical building of NAT (Naval Retirement Fund). The most iconic of the sights is the Municipal Theater of Piraeus which is located only minutes away from the Tower, found at the main avenues of Vassileos Georgiou A and Iroon Polytechniou. Piraeus has always been a center of Culture and Business growth.
The Municipality of Piraeus was founded in 1835 and was one of the municipalities into which Attica was initially divided.
The town planning was designed by architect Ippodamos in mid-5th century B.C. The second planning of the town in 1834 was based on Ippodamos’ original plans of the city. Themistocles was the first to stress the importance of a major port for the growth of Athens.
The Municipality of Piraeus hosted events in both the 1896 and 2004 Summer Olympics held in Athens. The University of Piraeus is one of the largest Greek universities and has the country’s second-oldest business school, as well as the oldest academic department in the area of Finance.
The port of Piraeus is the chief port in Greece. Also, it is the largest passenger port in Europe and the second-largest in the world, servicing about 20 million passengers annually. With a throughput of 1.4 million TEUs, Piraeus is placed among the top ten ports in container traffic in Europe and the top container port in the Eastern Mediterranean.
Piraeus has a long recorded history, dating to ancient Greece
The city was founded in the early 5th century BC, when this area was selected to become the new port of classical Athens and was built as a prototype harbor, gathering all the import and transit trade of Athens as well as the navy’s base. During the Golden Age of Athens, the Long Walls were constructed to fortify the route from the main city to the port of Piraeus.
In the modern era, Piraeus transformed into a big city, bustling with activity, becoming a major part of Athens, acting as home to the country’s biggest harbor and bearing all the characteristics of a huge marine and commercial-industrial center.
Piraeus has Mount Aigaleo to the northwest, and the Saronic Gulf to the south and west, and is connected with the rest of the Athens urban area to the east and northeast. The area of Piraeus consists of a rocky peninsula (originally an island), featuring three natural harbors.
Every time we are using the central port to reach one of the famous Greek Islands we are taking the same steps as ancient people used to at the Kantharos port. That was the ancient name of the central port. It was and still is the heart of city life. In the Freatida area, you can see the remaining parts of the ancient Piraeus Wall (on the coastal area). Not far from the central port there is Marina Zeas (Pasalimani) with all the impressive yachts moored side by side giving a cosmopolitan atmosphere to the cafes and restaurants.
All the smaller harbors to the east are also still in use: Zea, also known as Pasalimani, and Munichia, the smallest of the three and widely known as Mikrolimano and Tourkolimano. Nowadays, the Greater Piraeus includes the harbors of Drapetsona, Keratsini and Perama. The central harbor is a hub of commercial and passenger shipping, whereas the two smaller ones cater to recreational and fishing boats. The municipality has an area of 10.865 km2.
How to reach Piraeus from Athens
You can take the train and get off at Piraeus station, which is the end of the route. Moreover, there are regular bus lines departing from Filellinon street in Syntagma square (No 40) and Athenas street, Omonia square (No 49), which arrive at Xaveriou Coast (Piraeus). Soon Tram & Metro lines will be available to all passengers.
Mayor of Piraeus
Ioannis Moralis is the current Mayor of Piraeus, Greece. He was elected Mayor in May 2014 and took office in September of that year. He has helped Piraeus to grow into a metropolitan city of Europe. He supports all cultural activities and events making the city one of the 10 most visited destinations in Europe, for 2016 – 2020.
Info: Presentation by Areti Vassou, Photos & Video by Patroklos Stellakis, PR by Ariadne Nikaki