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Periscope Hotel

Info

The Periscope is a refurbishment of a small hotel with 22 rooms, in the center of Athens. The building contains thirteen installations which allow the occupants of the hotel to experience the city of Athens at different scales and from a variety of vantage points.

Credits

Location Athens, Greece
Area 1014 m²
Year 2002-2004
2002
2003
2004
Design
Construction
DECA Team
Design:
Kyle Gudsell, Maria Doxa, Marina Stasinopoulou, Elena Zabeli, Zeta Tsermou, Ifigenia Mari
Collaborators
Structural Engineer:
Kyriazis & Associates
Mechanical Engineer:
TEKEM SA
Client's Representative on site:
J&P Avax
Constructor:
Ermon Ltd
Artists:
Iannis Ganas, Nikos Papadimitriou, Nikos Daniilidis, Alexander Kuehne, Pavlos Germidis, Leonidas Lianbeys
Lighting Designer:
Giorgos Papadimitropoulos
Audio Visual Expert:
Yannis Economidis
Industrial Designer of Periscope Device:
Nikos Doxas
Programmer of Periscope Device:
Kotsos Koryllos
Graphic Designer:
Yiannis Karlopoulos
Animator:
Pavlos Germidis
Photographers:
Margarita Yoko Nikitaki, Kyle Gudsell, Yiorgis Yerolymbos

The Building as a Container of Installations

After 9/11 urban surveillance has become a primary source of information for the agencies that monitor cities in search of security threats. We are constantly been monitored in ways that we are not aware of. The Periscope re-examines urban surveillance as a social phenomenon and offers the opportunity to the public to participate in the process of surveying with thirteen installations that were designed especially for the hotel,  in collaboration with artists and designers.

Installation 01: Shadow Lit Wall

The mural painted on the side facade is a study of shadows that are casted on this wall by the surrounding buildings on November 19 and January 22 at thirty minute intervals.

Installation 02: Periscope Device

A surveillance camera captures the view from the top of the hotel. The images are relayed to the ground floor bar and projected on two screens. The view can be controlled through a custom designed joystick (CAMTROLL).

The guests can influence the movement of the camera in three ways: pan, tilt, zoom, observing the city at their own pace. A special computer program was designed in order to mediate the information from the camera to the joystick and projectors.

Installation 03: Framing Athens

Black & white photographs of Athens shot by Kyle Gudsell from within the Hotel make a reading of qualities of the surrounding cityscape. They are strategically installed throughout the building in varying scales and proportions.

Installation 04: Urban Stethoscope

 

A microphone collects city sounds from the top of the building. These sounds are broadcasted in the public WCs on the basement level. Hotel guests experience this soundtrack which exists beyond the envelope of the building when they visit the lavatories.

Installation 05: Tram Patterns

A mural by Nikos Papadimitriou featuring patterns created from the abstraction of tram cables over the streets of Athens, is placed on the 6th floor suite. These patterns are engraved on a silicone rubber surface covering one wall.

Installation 06: Panorama Beams

Panoramic images of Athens taken by Alexander Kuehne from the highest points of the city (Athens Tower, mount Lykabettus) are printed onto plexiglas lightbox beams in the center of the junior suites of the 4th and 5th floors providing ambient lighting for the rooms. The one side of the beams has the day view while the other side has the night view from exactly the same location.

Installation 07: Plimsoll Line Stairs

An altimeter gauge runs up the side of the staircase trunk. This gauge references the Plimsoll lines on boat hulls. Hotel guests can read what height above sea level they are on, as they are going up the stairs to their rooms.

Installation 08: Screen Saver Animations

3D Animations of gigantic animals strolling in the center of Athens have been created by Pavlos Germidis for the Hotel. These animations appear on the projection screens of the ground floor, as screen savers, when the periscope device remains inactive for a set amount of time.

Installation 09: Obelisks of Athens

A postcard stand is placed next to the reception. The postcards are images of the obelisks the emerged in Athens as supports for hundreds of surveillance cameras that were installed in the city for security reasons before the 2004 Olympic Games. The photographs and installation are by Leonidas Lianbeys.

Installation 10: Tourism in the Horizontal Position

Aerial photographs of Athens, taken by Nikos Daniilidis from a helicopter around the time of the 2004 Olympic Games, are placed on the ceilings of the torpedo rooms. The guests can observe the urban sprawl of Athens and map mental routes while lying down on their beds. The “torpedo” rooms adjoin the street facade so that the aerial photographs are visible from the street below at night. People passing by can experience a collage of the urban sprawl of Athens. Each room displays a different photograph.

Conceptual Representations

External References

PUBLICATION

Casa Vogue

“Periscope” Hotel was included in Casa Vogue Italia vol26,25

PUBLICATION

Architecture in Greece 40/2006

The Periscope hotel is a place where visitors have the opportunity to observe and trace the city of Athens by various means. The main alterations took place on the facade of the building and in the arrangement of the interior spaces including all 22 rooms.

PUBLICATION

Vogue Hellas

In 2005, the ‘Periscope Hotel’ was included in the 62th “Vogue Hellas” as one of the two most innovative city hotels in Athens. Together with “Hotel twentyone” which is also created by DECAarchitecture team.