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REGENERATION OF ARISTOTELOUS SQUARE AND AXIS

Location:               Greece – Thessaloniki

Plot Size:              32,500 m²

    The intention and philosophy of the proposal is for the Aristotelous square and axis to become the link between the historical, archaeological, cultural, religious, social, urban, architectural, visual and commercial influences of Thessaloniki, connecting the past with the present and the future.

    The symbolism and reference to the past is achieved through the ground representation of the old historical city urban map which was destroyed by the great fire of 1917 as well as by the symbolic representation of urban and architectural rhythms of Ernest Hébrard's design through the light structured metal weave arches and columns creating outdoor arcades.

    The aim is to redefine and spread the centre of the city, through a systematic, continuous, long-term, coordinated and integrated strategy of urban planning, architecture and infrastructure, without prohibitive cost and adapted timetables for immediate implementation.

    Through a landscaped and environmental canvas and/or grid, light structured flexible and modular urban and architectural interventions act as a lever for change and/or rejuvenation, offering a platform that will host a variety of functions, uses and activities through social gathering, controlled recreation, artistic and cultural events of temporary and/or permanent form.

    The proposed interventions are expected to act as an urban acupuncture by transforming a disconnected set of inactive social spaces into a network of active outdoor public spaces and events that will contribute to the upgrading of the environment, quality of life, cultivation of social perception, use of new technological methods, contact, communication and recreation of users, residents and/or visitors.

    The coexistence of various activities, functions, uses, services and needs, occurs through a strategy of mix use exploitation of public spaces creating new opportunities for both service providers and users and/or consumers, thus contributing to the economic growth of new flexible activities, new sources of income and the impetus of small-business via the intermediary of workshop activities such as art, sculpture, painting, cultural, visual, educational, events, screenings, music, street art, street food, exhibitions, galleries all dispersed on a landscaped canvas, host of small mobile multidisciplinary kiosks.

    The multidisciplinary and versatile thematic activities, functions and uses, hosted by a light structured architectural grid can be adapted accordingly to the desired spaces in full alignment with the environment of the geographical location in which they shall be integrated via environmental, ecological and sustainable installations, equipment and bioclimatic methods of implementation.

    The architectural flexibility and typology of the proposal occurs within the services, uses and functions themselves as a result of which the aesthetics, choice of materials, vegetation and urban furniture play a major role in the controlled cost of construction which is initially estimated at €25,250,000, based on unit prices per square meter since the repetition of the structures, materials and methodology make it possible.

    The standardization of the interventions and choice of materials via the industrial prefabrication, production, assembly, installation and/or disassembly significantly reduces the cost in the case of modifications that may arise due to various needs, happenings and events that occur in a city with the cultural and artistic scope of Thessaloniki and even more so under the unpredictable and/or unfortunate periods of crisis.

    The luxury of outdoor public spaces, let alone green spaces to be exploited by the residents and/or passers-by, is becoming a non-negotiable necessity in all aspects of architectural, urban and social infrastructures, let alone of such a large scale project and even more so in an era when social space and/or distancing is considered a luxury.

    These public spaces can be transformed into water, green, environmental and ecological surfaces, resulting in the upgrade of the bioclimatic design of the city and hence reducing the average temperature fluctuations, pollution levels and carbon print with the vast introduction of local and traditional vegetation species.

     Pedestrian access and mobility are optimized by practically excluding vehicles from the project extents if not for emergencies (health, fire, and safety), cleanliness and commercial delivery services within specific and strict timeframes.

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