This wing, containing the department of Architecture of the University of Thessaly, is located within a larger complex of industrial buildings at the west entrance to the city of Volos. It involved the conversion of a factory warehouse measuring 40x80 metres, with a useful height of 6 meters, into a shell for the teaching and other academic requirements of the Faculty. The basic principle of the conversion project was the retention of the existing metal frame, with an intermediate support zone, and the introduction into the interior of a simple set of independent functional units as pavilions housed beneath the same roof. The four units are placed symmetrically in the space and consist of two levels, with teaching rooms and laboratories on the lower floor and the staff offices, library and exhibition gallery above. On the other side of the main entranceis a meeting area and an amphitheatre seating 180;the courtyard outside the entrance is an open—air amphitheatre. Movement around the building is very easy, particularly between the open spaces at the endsof the shell, and natural lighting is provided by a glass strip running the entire length of the ‘shelter’ above thecentral row of pillars. The intervention is notable for the clear distinction between the existing outer shell and the new structures; the objective was to retain the industrial character of the building and thus preserve an architectural idiom appropriate to the environment and its history. The exuberance of the individual morphological solutions and of the materials and colours with which the plain installations are finished is justified in every case by the industrial origins of the shell and by its special function as a university building.
Text written by: A. Giakoumakatos