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Eleni Efstathia Eforakopoulou

n.eforakop@gmail.com

The project investigates the forces of the natural world and their relationship with the built form. At a time when the climate is in crisis, I have sought to understand and manipulate the invisible choreography that is at the basis of architecture.

The project reuses the site of a disused acid factory, situated amongst the limestone foothills to the south of Marseille. It proposes a new settlement of houses and civic buildings, built in anticipation of a new wave of people forced to leave their homes due the effects of desertification in North Africa. The proposals expand on the pre-existing logic of the site, which is already organised around the prevailing winds, the sea, and the contours of the land.

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Due to toxicity of the chemicals produced throughout the lifespan of the factory, the site was organised specifically to dispel the noxious fumes. The chimney follows the direction of the prevailing wind, the mistral. As the chimney extends away from the site, it rises 45m above the sea level. The site is therefore organised already around the moving materials of geology, topography, sea and wind.

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The site strategy divides the site into three basic programmatic categories: community buildings, housing and spaces of worship. The site is accessed through an existing road that connects to Marseille, and the programs are arranged based on their public or private requirements. Programs with more public facing elements are located nearer to the entrance, whereas the most private of spaces, such as housing or spaces of worship, are placed away from the site entrance. All buildings engage the moving materials of topography, trees, water and wind, but in different ways depending on their location on the site and their programmatic requirements.

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Computational Fluid Dynamics simulations of sections that further engage the natural forces of the site, namely the wind. The inchoate engagement with the wind in preliminary studies is revisited, and all of the buildings are re-set out based upon the direction of either the Mistral or Sirocco. Through this, I am able to score the wind as it moves through, around, or across each individual building. The wind, work­ing in concert, with the program of the respective buildings, takes on a performative role.

As the buildings are oriented towards the wind, the roofs are designed to engage the wind such that, as the wind blows over the space, it activates and conditions the air internally. The ‘moving material’ of the wind activates the Bernoulli effect which creates a negative pressure differential inside the buildings, expelling the air inside out through the gaps in the ceiling, and conditioning the spaces naturally.

©2019 by UNIT 17, The Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL