The new Metropolitan Sea Airport of Elefsina will be soon opening its doors to the public to take visitors on a thrilling ride.
The blueprints for the design of Elefsina’s sea airport were released in 2019, immediately capturing the attention of the international architecture community, who praised Greece for this innovative project.
Designed by Pieris.Architects and Hellenic Seaplanes, the waterfront area, its waterpark and set of seaplanes, form part of the largest waterways and seaplane investment in Greece – all reportedly to be complete and ready within 2021.
Currently under construction, the new sea airport is costing over 25 million euros and is expected to radically change the travel map of the area, making Elefsina a seaplane hub.
The facility will be located just 20 kilometres from the centre of Athens and will serve the whole of Attica.
While many have debated the construction of such a large and costly project, the fact is that the creation of this waterway is a necessity rather than a luxury – as long as it is used properly.
At the moment there are not enough connections between the various Aegean islands and Attica, limiting the domestic dispersion of tourists and degrading the touristic experience that Greece can truly offer.
In addition, the integration of seaplanes in the transport network between mainland and islands offers the possibility for better medical care, facilitating the transfer of patients to hospitals in Attica.
Finally, there is the substantial contribution to upgrading the quality of life of the permanent residents of the island areas, facilitating better postal services and transportation.
The construction and design of the sea airport was led by Pieris.Architects, an award-winning multidisciplinary architectural group with a portfolio of various projects across Greece, Cyprus and England and headed by Stella and Petros Pieris.
Pieris.Architects explained that they wanted to create a “DNA-style building”, which will integrate all the functions of transport infrastructure with those of a flexible cultural space.
“Our vision of Attica’s Metropolitan Seadrome with Nicholas Charalambous and Hellenic Seaplanes is soon taking shape and is undeniably one of the most ambitious and visionary projects taking place in Greece at the moment.
"The Greek islands will finally be connected by a network of seaplanes, which will boost tourism by making travel between different holiday destinations easier and most importantly, will improve healthcare and ensure the faster transportation of patients to the mainland,” explained Stella Pieris of Pieris.Architects.
One of the main goals of the municipality of the city of Elefsina was to create a multi-purpose facility, which would include multicultural event spaces, conference centres, exhibition spaces, commercial uses, restaurants and cafes. This way, the sea airport and its surrounding facilities could be used all year round providing a consistent source of revenue for the water park station and the city overall.
The Metropolitan Sea Airport will also introduce a new style of transport infrastructure in the country, connecting travel experience with culture by utilizing an almost abandoned landmark building, that being the port of Elefsina.
“The aim of this new project is to create a positive impact on social, economic and environmental level, adopting cutting-edge technologies, ecological consciousness and modern culture,” says Hellenic Seaplanes in a recent statement.
Nicholas Charalambous, Chairman and CEO of Hellenic Seaplanes, described that another special aspect of Elefsina’s sea airport is that the travel experience begins from the moment that the traveller enters the building.
Indoor, semi-outdoor and open air conditioners, specially designed to cope with the climatic conditions of Greece, service indoor gardens housing endemic plants and trees such as olive, thyme and lavender, that exude vivid colours and aromas reminiscent of the more rural side of Greece within a major city.
The elements of sustainability present in both the project design and choice of construction materials, contribute to the reduction of operating costs and energy consumption and have been openly praised by the international community of architects.
“This project will create additional added value through infrastructure of modern architecture with a focus on sustainability, as the environmental benefits are many and important," explains awarded architect graduate from Oxford University and the University College of London, Petros Pieris.
"The design and construction of public buildings with a low environmental footprint for the country's Mediterranean climate, where heating and cooling must be produced, maintained and combined with the required amenities, is a difficult task.”
Additionally, the social and economic benefits for the wider region are manifold.
The sea airport and its numerous waterways and facilities have already contributed to the creation of 2,000 new jobs and are predicted to attract new tourism investments and infrastructure development along the hitherto neglected port of Elefsina.
Overall, the sea airport embodies the architectural philosophy of Pieris.Architects, which concerns the development of eco-emotional intelligence.
The new infrastructure presupposes, motivates and encourages human-nature interaction and is to be accompanied by a number of other important port rehabilitation projects, including seabed clearing and gradual restoration of the biodiversity of the area.
The cultural activities that will also be hosted throughout the year at the site will bring an influx of visitors, strengthening the local economy and giving new life to an area that, despite its rich history, has long been overlooked.
Predicted to enhance the country's tourism as a whole, the new Metropolitan Sea Airport of Elefsina is set to offer new destinations to tourists as multiple areas will become more easily accessible.
All photos from Instagram: @pieris.architects
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