The Olympics and public transport
In 2004, for the 28th Olympic Games, the historic sports event returned to Greece, the birthplace of the ancient games and in 1896 the first venue for the Games in the modern age. In the early years of the 21st century Athens took advantage of the event to carry through a project to redevelop and expand its metropolitan railway network, recognising the profound value of a collective infrastructure that is capable of transporting large numbers of people efficiently while achieving a significant reduction in car traffic in the city centre.
The Athens metro now consists of three main lines: the old Line 1 which crosses the city from the south (from the port of Piraeus) to the north, and the recent Lines 2 and 3 that run through the historic city centre. Construction of Line 1 began in the late 19th century as a suburban above-ground railway, transformed in 1930 into a full-scale metro with the construction of three stations. The redevelopment plan for Line 1 also involved refurbishment of Neo Faliro station, the arrival terminal of the line that links Athens with the maritime area of Piraeus, one of the country’s major ports and commercial centres located ten kilometres to the south of the city. In 2001 the Greek practice Obermeyer was commissioned to create an architectural, structural and executive design for the refurbishing project, and the work was completed in the early summer of 2004. The station is located near Faliro Bay, the city’s seafront, and close to several important sports facilities used for the Athens Olympic Games 2004, the Karaiskaki Stadium for football matches and the Peace and Friendship Stadium where volleyball and basketball games are held.
The line runs on the surface rather than underground. Its lower levels house the platforms for access to the trains and the upper levels the ticket offices, shops and two walkways providing a connection with the nearby sports facilities without interrupting the road traffic of the nearby motorway. The two station levels are also connected by glass lifts that allow the elderly and disabled to descend straight to the train level with the utmost convenience.
At a structural level, the architects wanted to recreate the colours and forms typical of the maritime location, using turquoise colours and choosing architectural forms for the cantilever roofs that would suggest the idea of a flock of seagulls in flight. By choosing organic shapes and clean surfaces, the architects created a contemporary infrastructure with spacious, airy passageways, protected from the elements but at the same time flooded with natural light during the day. The structure also succeeded in guaranteeing a high degree of comfort for visitors during the Olympic Games in spite of the high level of attendance (with peaks of 26,000 passengers per hour in each direction and with trains running every 2.5 minutes).
Along with the yellow orientation, guide and safety lines required by European Union directives, two shades of grey were chosen for the walking surfaces, a lighter shade for the field tiles and a darker shade for ground-level projections of the columns which emphasise the spans of the station roof and create a rhythmic structure. The main directions of passenger movement are delineated by pale coloured porcelain tile modules.
For the Neo Faliro station, tiles from the “I quarzi” collection by Piemmegres were chosen to reproduce the textures of minerals present in nature. They were also used for remodelling of the Thission station in the heart of the ancient city close to the Acropolis.
The floor surfaces in various stations in the Athens metro create an interesting sense of material continuity that accompanies users as they travel through the city and helps to guide them in their movements.
Piemmegres, I Quarzi series
30x30, 30x60 cm
Grey and Dark
Water absorpion (ISO 10545-3): ≤ 0,5%
Chemical resistance (ISO 10545-13): compliant
Resistance to deep abrasion (ISO 10545-6): ≤ 175 mm3
Stain resistance (ISO 10545-14): compliant
Frost resistance (ISO 10545-12): compliant
Modulus of rupture and breaking strength (ISO 10545-4): ≥ 35 N/mm2
Slip resistance (DIN 51130): R11
Thermal shock resistance (ISO 10545-9): compliant
Linear thermal expansion (ISO 10545-8): compliant