International Competition for the Urban and Architectural Regeneration of the Athens Historical City Center
Location: Athens - Greece
Project Size: 1.915.258 m²
Concept Date: June 2019
The main urban planning objective of the proposal is the creation of new transport parameters (trams, trolleys, buses, pedestrian walkways and cycle paths) that relate and coexist in the greater extents and context of the Historical Triangle in general.
The creation of a network of 'polymorphic sustainable mobility corridors' consisting of main tram and/or trolley traffic routes, flanked by pedestrian walkways, bicycle paths and tree planting within the Historical Triangle, combined with the removal and/or marginalization of cars, will result in a new prospect of developing, enhancing and strengthening the new uses, functions and services that will be strategically created, located and in relation to the existing built-up areas which require, to say the least, serious rejuvenation.
The use of cars, whether by residents, traders or by visitors, should be regulated and strictly controlled (application of access in between pop-up stacks), planned (within specific and denominated hours of access, loading and unloading) and based on automation systems but also on advanced technology (correlation, ratio and allocation of specific parking spaces to residents and/or visitors) by region.
This will result in the coexistence of various functions, uses and services, as well as the various points of interest of the city, redefining the flow and direction of circulation and traffic, not only of the pedestrians but also of the various means of public transport.
The new proposed interventions will be guided by the principles of environmental planning, upgrading, sustainability, mobility and resilience.
Further to the urban and transport redevelopment, the architectural concept, context and design, must conform, adapt, respond to and assimilate the synthetic principles, functions, uses, aesthetics, environmental, ecological, urban and economic aspects of the criteria mentioned above.
Therefore, the architectural concept of the proposal has to do with its lightness and mobility, amid a polymorphic and transformable metal grid, which can accommodate various uses and functions that can be mutated, modified and that can adapt and relate to various periods in time (past, present and future) and expand (horizontally and/or vertically) at any given time, in order to multiply, reduce, be transported and/or removed from the grid, depending on the circumstances and needs of the city and of a constantly evolving world.
The lightness of the architectural approach and proposal is therefore a deliberate environmental, ecological and economic solution, but also a test, in a scenario that limits the permanence in the event of problematic results, while primarily facilitating and assuring the spreading and implementation of unlimited alternative scenarios and potential, across the wider area within and/or outside the boundaries of the Historic Triangle.
The same applies to the uses, functions, services, construction materials and aesthetics, which can also be adapted and modified depending on the urban, architectural, environmental, ecological, economic, geographic, cultural and social needs of any specific region, season and period in time.
Finally, as a whole, the planning and architectural ideas, proposals and interventions are such, that the main guiding themes of sustainable construction, environmental approach, ecological protection, mobility and economic approach, can not only be adapted and incorporated, but can also become even more important, based on the constant evolution of technology, construction methods and materials that can be implemented and incorporated within and throughout the proposal.
With this triptych (lightness, versatility, flexibility) the interventions will lead to the recovery of the public space, its environmental upgrading and the interconnection of the city center with the wider urban area, but also between the vacant spaces and structured grids, creating an equal relationship and symbiosis of the regions which make up the Historical Triangle and structure the functions, uses and services, making it a destination of a residential, office, retail, commercial functions, workshops, traditional and/or modern trade, crafts, culture, recreation, while simultaneously exposing the metropolitan and historic character of the city center.
A dominant element of the proposal is also the coherence of the interventions and the relationship they will share between each other, whether urban, architectural, environmental, cultural, social, residential, commercial and/or any other form, intervention, void, existing building, public space, preserved building, green space, in an attempt to apply a unified approach, theory, execution and aesthetics, in order to create a common philosophy and uniform concept and context of materials and colors.
This transformable approach will have a positive impact on the environmental, bioclimatic and economic sectors and will be able to adapt accordingly to any climatic conditions, while seeking to incorporate the integrated methods into landscape architecture for renewable energy purposes and sustainable management.
The polymorphic and transformable architectural metal structural grid, becomes the host of various services, functions, uses and facilities for the revival of the derelict buildings, empty spaces, for the stimulation of traditional trade and the craft industry in their historical zones, for the re-housing and revival of the building stock, while simultaneously creating new points of interest and above all, revitalizing the vital parts of the city, by reconfiguring and creating the right and beneficial conditions for a multiplicity of uses, through the qualitative and environmental upgrading of public space, sustainable mobility, smart construction and the emergence of the international metropolitan and cultural character of the city centre and immediate outskirts.