An outstanding Art Installation at Piraeus Tower in Greece has transformed the entire city. With this photo collection and video we are capturing the Messages hidden into the Sleeping Giant that waited since 1972 to reveal its true power. Everything takes its own time to transform into something new.

When the lights were turned on for the Christmas Celebrations of Piraeus in December 2020, we were amazed by the magnificent art design & installation of Piraeus Tower. For a moment we felt like we were into a time machine and we took a glimpse from the future of Piraeus City.

Looking at the blue sky above, Piraeus never looked so attractive. The new Piraeus Tower is moving forward to a new chapter of its life, carrying with it all the old Agora of the Port.

Piraeus Tower in Greece Photo by Patroklos Stellakis
Piraeus Tower in Greece Photo by Patroklos Stellakis

Piraeus Tower is the second tallest tower (257 feet) in Greece waiting to find its ideal use since 1972. As it seems, locals were finally introduced to the new face and the new potentials of this extremely high building just before the expiration of 2020.

The 84-meter-tall Sleeping Giant (as most locals call it) is located in the port of Piraeus and oversees the entire Saronic Gulf. It was designed by the architects I. Vikelas, G. Molfesis and A. Loizou. Apart from the first three floors, it had never been occupied or used since 1972.

This 24-story tower remains as one of the most significant landmarks for locals and visitors, in a neighborhood which belongs to the largest port in Europe and one of the largest in the world, the Port of Piraeus. At last, this Ghost Tower found a new destiny after PILA won the competition for the ultimate transformation of the Tower.

This was a significant winning against time decay and abandonment. The condition of a city’s buildings reflects the culture and the aesthetics of an entire nation. Empty spaces and well designed buildings create the paths in which citizents nurture their lives.

The History of Piraeus Tower

The Tower was built on the plot where originally was the home of the Municipal Market. The Market was demolished on February 8, 1968 by the mayor of Piraeus, Aristides Skylitsis. At that time the buildings inside the market housed all the local stores of the area providing jobs to 1000 employees.

In the first years, the demolition brought financial depression in the area and remained an empty plot for about 5 years. During the period (1972 – 1974) Aristides Skylitsis supported the plans of construction for the modern Tower as the new Piraeus Commercial Center, aiming to make the large multistory skyscraper the center of the port. The modern skyscraper consists of 23 floors with a total height of 84 meters, it is the second largest skyscraper in Attica after the Athens Tower.

The Municipal Market was near the Church of Agia Triada and locals used to call it Agora Agias Triadas. Due to the Metropolitan Church of Piraeus that area became the most central and historic district of Piraeus, named after the large market that dominated the area from 1860 to 1968 when it was demolished to build in its place the famous Tower of Piraeus. Even today most locals refer to the area as The Market or Old Agora.

Decades before that period, the entire area was one of the first inhabited when the modern city of Piraeus was created after the liberation of 1821. Particularly, the first inhabitants in the 1830s were residents from Chios Island, who they founded and built in 1839 the Metropolitan Church of Piraeus, Agia Triada. The idea for the construction of a large market was already into consideration from the early 1850s. It finally come to action in 1862 with plans of the city engineer Major I. Triggetas.

Piraeus Tower in Greece Photo by Patroklos Stellakis
Piraeus Tower in Greece Photo by Patroklos Stellakis

The Municipal Market of Piraeus was a rectangular building (94.9 x 27.8 meters) in the triangle between the streets Gounari – Ethnikis Antistaseos – Vassileos Georgiou II Avenue, opposite the large Church of Agia Triada. It was accessible through its three entrances from three different sides and it was housing a number of shops such as fishmongers, bakeries, greengrocers and butchers in the 4 respective sectors, there were also many eateries and cafes serving customers.

In the evening hours, when the traffic in the market was falling, all the big names of old rebetes such as Markos Vamvakaris, Vassilis Tsitsanis and Bagianteras gathered to meet friends and grab a bite. At the time the heart of the city was biting inside the small shops of the Market. In a way, even today, visitors can get the same vibes walking in the streets around The Tower of Piraeus. A vivid market has expanded around the port and most locals prefer to get their weekly groceries from the remained Old Market stores.

Nowadays, the Municipal Market area is one of the most commercial districts in Greece with high navy-commercial traffic all year round, especially due to its proximity to the main port. Shops and eateries are plentiful on all streets including private clothing stores, eateries, bakeries, travel agencies, shipping companies and many hotels.

Close to the Tower there are six main characteristic sights of the area that dominate the entire disctrict. There is next to the Piraeus Tower the Chuch of Agia Triada, the Zanneio Orphanage for Boys (is located inside and opposite the lines of ISAP), the Catholic Church of St. Paul and the old Post Office of Piraeus. Also, the classical architectural building seen on the right side of the Tower is the neoclassical building of NAT (Naval Retirement Fund). The most iconic of the sights is the Municipal Theater of Piraeus which is located only minutes away from the Tower, found at the avenues of Vassileos Georgiou A and Iroon Polytechniou.

Info: Presentation by Areti Vassou, Photos & Video by Patroklos Stellakis, PR by Ariadne Nikaki

Piraeus Tower in Greece Photo by Patroklos Stellakis
Piraeus Tower in Greece Photo by Patroklos Stellakis
Piraeus Tower in Greece Photo by Patroklos Stellakis
Piraeus Tower in Greece Photo by Patroklos Stellakis
Piraeus Tower in Greece Photo by Patroklos Stellakis
Piraeus Tower in Greece Photo by Patroklos Stellakis
Piraeus Tower in Greece Photo by Patroklos Stellakis
Piraeus Tower in Greece Photo by Patroklos Stellakis

Piraeus Tower Construction Credits

Name: Piraeus Tower Location: Piraeus, Athens, Greece
Client: Dimand SA, Prodea Investments, EBRD
Architect: PILA
Team: Ilias Papageorgiou, Christina Papalexandri, Iacovina Kontiza, Konstantinos Voutoufianakis Petropoulos, Marina Avouri, Eleni Nikolaou
Façade engineer: Eckersley O’ Callaghan
Renderings: Konstantinos Koudounis
Area: 322,917 ft2 (30,000 m2)
Floors: 22
Program: office, retail, restaurant, terraces
Schedule: expected completion Q1 2023

About PILA: PILA is an architecture studio based in Athens and New York that creates environments for culture, working, and living around the world. Visit their official website for more info: www.pila.studio

Lighting Art Installation by YARD

YARD is a creative event production house, focusing on pioneering 360o ideas and executions. They are behind the spectacular Piraeus Tower tranformation into an interactive Art Installation, during December 2020 – January 2021, for the Christmas celebrations in Piraeus.

When the lights were turned on for the Christmas Celebrations of Piraeus in December 2020, we were amazed by the magnificent art design & installation of Piraeus Tower. For a moment we felt like we were into a time machine and we took a glimpse from the future of Piraeus City.

YARD’s statement from their website:

The Tower of Piraeus, is an emblematic building and the lighthouse of the port of Piraeus as well as the landmark of the city in general. After a year full of changes and challenges, our goal with this project was to give an extra festive vibe in the city and fill people with hope and positivity. 

We had the opportunity to collaborate with an amazing group of people and lighting experts in order to study, design and illuminate this historical building with the latest modern technology. We have presented a lighting installation full of colors and shapes, in order to create a ‘’festive urban jewel’’ highlighting the architecture and the importance of the building itself. 

Bringing together innovative technology and creativity, our main goal was to colour people’ s lives and enhancing a joyful and optimistic message.” (Client: DIMAND)

Credits@georgetellos lighting programming, @ptsevrenis lighting equipment,  @meletiskariotis production manager, @kostasthelouras technical manager

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