The competition brief called for a new 600m2 Visitors Centre, in the center of Ayia Napa, Cyprus’ premier destination for holiday makers of youth. The project proposed a building that would be able to carry the required programming intelligently, by offering dynamically flexible and reconfigurable spaces, but at the same time develop an engaging dialectic relationship with the resort’s loud urban plateau. Passersby are subtly drawn-in the building’s serene exhibition spaces through a courtyard that is formed through the folding of the urban plaza and the building’s form being hovered above. The courtyard acts as ‘decompression’ chamber, where the loud noises and vivid imagery of the resort are washed off to prepare the visitor for the exhibit.
Ground floor spaces carry a public character, and include a generous lobby, a press conference facility and a canteen all wrapped around a rhomboidal central courtyard, that lets indirect light seep through. The upper level carries the press room and the media studios that again flank either sides of the courtyard.
The proposal built on the idea of a steel monocoque structure that unfolds to subtly prescribe the courtyard space over the sloping urban plaza, while effectively becoming the formal manifestation of the building. Outward looking sides of the façade, and roof are clad in cor-ten steel and carry minimal openings, where the courtyard facing sides, are all glass, and carry large pivot opening elements that can fully blur the boundaries between inside and outside space.
The internal spatial syntax of the building has been developed based on a theory which presents flexibility -all spaces can accept different arrangements, division layouts and uses – but without resorting to uniformity, instead developing conditions of ‘heterotopy’, where the formal articulation of the building predisposes but does not fix specific programmatic provisions or uses.
Architects: Michael Cosmas Architecture
Project Architect: Michael Cosmas
Structural Engineering: EPS/ Nikos Kalathas
Mechanical Engineering: n/a
Electrical Engineering: n/a