A city within a city...
Initial mapping of Gerani consisted of an experiential documentation conducted through the use of extensive site
photography and image analysis that was later compiled into a short animation. This analysis revealed a number of
varying spatial conditions that suggested potential opportunities for architectural intervention. From these conditions
a typology of different sites was generated and then taken as a framework for a more detailed mapping of
Gerani. These conditions included alleyways, derelict buildings, buildings under construction, vacant sites, low
rooftops, high rooftops and buildings with unused levels. This inital analysis was then compiled with the mapping
of other group members (negative space, building penetration and graffiti mapping) and from these combined
criteria potential sites were located and a concept for a hidden utopia within Gerani was formed.
This site was chosen as a case study of what might exist in the network. It was seen to be an
ideal location as it contained a number of different typological sites (as were identified in the
earlier mapping) with a large underutilised carpark in the centre of the space. This section of
the network was conceived as being a major generator of income and creative output which
meant that the programme of the architecture needed to be inventive and also contain a connection
to the public domain. Three sites were chosen to be looked at in detail and were to be
connected to one another through the use of the large void between them. Initially the sites
were to be connected via fly wires although this approach was later expanded to include the
ground level public domain and also a couple of architectural skybridges. The three sites were
considered to become almost like a 'silicon valley' for Gerani containing startups that would
have the potential of generating income for the network. Site A was conceived of as a theatre
and circus performance school. Site B was to become a hackerspace and maker's market and
Site C would include biological and horticultural labs which would work in conjunction with an
adjacent artist residence and open air gallery. The public domain and open air void above it
would serve as an open air theatre for circus performances but also as a public plaza for other
events such as sculpture exhibitions, markets, festivals and other occasions.
The theatre space takes advantage of two derelict buildings (one on Sapfous
St and the other on Sofokleous St) and the vacant interstitial space
that connects the two together. The space behind the public entrance to
the theatre is sunken to create ideal viewing angles for the theatre stage
and the private entrance (the building behind backstage) is then structurally
altered to provide a double height space for backstage, rehearsals and
access to changerooms, makeup rooms, control rooms and theatre rigging.
The canopy of the auditorium has been designed to provide an ideal
accoustic layout while at the same time the form of the canopy is designed
to evoke the feeling of being under a circus tent. Ideally the space around
the stage could be altered into a number of different arrangements so that
seating could be placed on both sides of the stage if needs be.