Museum of Byzantine Culture, Thessaloniki

Extension, 2005, 2.656.000 €, 1st award in a competition

The project concerns the design of an independent building of 2.000 sq.m. located in the wider area of the Museum of Byzantine Culture in Thessaloniki, which covers uses of offices and an auditorium, in addition to those of the existing building.

The design follows exactly the arrangement and geometry of the original solution as developed in sketches by the museum's architect Kyriakos Krokos. The design attempts to complete the project, without competing with the creator, and without also imitating his gesture.

The new building is located on the southwest side of the plot and consists of two volumes: the auditorium and the offices. The offices are organized in two levels, around a central atrium, ensuring appropriate orientations and natural lighting and ventilation conditions.
New types and sophisticated materials are added, either because of contemporary specification requirements, or in order to address issues of sun protection and energy saving in the most discreet manner.
A full bioclimatic design was implemented in the project, developing appropriate planning strategies.
The specific requirements of the particular uses were taken into account, which mainly concern natural lighting and cooling during summer period. Appropriate techniques were applied from early design stages (integration of functional zones, development of solid forms with the desired volume/heated shell surfaces proportions, etc.), which were specialized during construction as follows:
Regarding thermal behavior during the heating period, the aim was the efficient collection, storage and transmission of heat, while reducing heat losses. The following were implemented:
- external brick walls with a total thickness of 40 cm and intermediate insulation., increasing the heat capacity and thermal inertia of the building, combined with the conventional concrete bearing structure,
- maximization of surface of openings with south orientation,
- application of double glazing windows with optimal factors.
Respectively for the cooling period the design provided:
- shading of the openings depending on orientation,
- control of heat gains,
- application of solid glass elements (in selected orientations and locations), which have better behavior, both in terms of insulation, as well as visual comfort and functionality,
- achievement of natural cooling in order to reduce heat gains from the building shell, reduction of internal heat gains and heat extraction from the interior and the shell of the building, taking advantage both of the atrium and the "chimney effect".

Finally, visual comfort conditions with sufficient light and no glare, because of shading devices, are ensured in all areas, exceeding even the high demands of the intended uses.