Jacquard’s Loom is an adaptive reuse of a decommissioned textile factory. It has a total area of 9,460 square meters (6,300 m2 for main spaces and 3160 m2 for secondary ones) and combines a unique programmatic mix within an inspiring architectural setting.
In 1801, weaver and merchant Joseph Marie Jacquard used replaceable punch-cards to program a sequence of mechanical operations in the weaving industry. In 2014 deca Architecture commissioned to revitalize the inactive textile factory of Τρία Άλφα in a neighborhood of Athens. The proposal for the new facade becomes a Jacquard card with holes that allow light into the interior spaces. Their location and density are determined parametrically according to the movement of the sun and the programmatic requirements of the building.
The existing carcass of the ex-industrial building is cut through three Boolean subtractions creating three interconnected civic spaces: The Arcade, the Agora, and the Plaza. The proposal generously extends the pave-walk, providing an arcade that blurs the limits between the public and the private realm. People are invited to stroll in the shade, above the level of the moving cars and to slip deeper into the city block, attracted by spaces and the activity within. The Arcade leads into the Agora, a large open market that lies under the building. Wooden storage units from the factory are adapted and reused by small producers and artisans. The center of the city block is hollow. It is a place for people to gather, protected from the noises of the city and the cars. It can easily be transformed to host concerts, performances or events. Restaurants use it for their exterior tables and stores take advantage of the visibility that it provides. The most prominent element in the Plaza is the Chimney. It is the only architectural element of the factory that is currently listed as an architectural monument. It is the tallest structure of the area. It will act as a civic beacon, guiding people to approach it from the metro station and the broader neighborhood. The materiality of the Chimney spreads out into the Plaza in concentric circles creating the new unified ground floor of the complex.
The Plaza will be flanked by a handful mix of uses such as recreational, commercial and cultural spaces. The largest space will be the Center for Well-Being which will be dedicated to bodily and spiritual wellness. It will have immediate proximity to the restaurant, the multipurpose space and the theatre. The entrance to the Theatre is located next to the Chimney at the level of the Plaza. It is a space with complete versatility that accommodates 150 seating people.
The First floor of the complex is a versatile open-plan space for creative production in synergies. Alternatively, it can be divided with lightweight colorful structures made from the plentitude of color tubes that are currently available in the factory. The entire roofscape has been conceived as a playground for all ages. The top level is for teenagers and young adults. Its center piece is the sculptural skateboard ramp. The Northern edge of the skateboard ramp becomes a small set of bleachers for hanging out and enjoying the view of the nearby hills. One of the existing tanks of the factory is repositioned next to the ramp and is transformed into a small canteen. The remaining roof is planted with short shrubs. On the lower rooftop there are two distinct spaces divided by walls. One of them is the outdoor Children’s Realm. It contains numerous trees and an adventurous playground. The second space is a peaceful area that is accessible through a small bridge from the top floor of the Centre for Well-Being. It contains a wooden deck for yoga and stretching. The deck is surrounded by trees and tall walls to provide shade and privacy.
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