Consortis' participation won the 2nd prize in the Architectural Design Competition entitled ''Southern Gates of Thebes''.
The subject of the competition was the redevelopment of an urban complex on the southern edge of the hill of Kadmeia, the historical centre of the city of Thebes. The intervention area concerns a network of public spaces of great importance for the functioning and identity of the city, as it currently contains important administrative, commercial, commercial, recreational and cultural uses, including protected monuments. The area extends over open public spaces, a network of streets, the surroundings of monuments and buildings of particular importance and archaeological sites. In addition, the scope of the competition concerned the redesign of the municipal summer cinema and adjacent outdoor sports facilities.
The design team consists of Eleni Andreou, Kostas Proios - who are the main designers of Consortis Architects and Evi Papalioura. The proposal entitled The palimpsest of the place _ the resilient city approached the topic with the aim of creating an architectural identity, promoting the area as a pole of cultural and administrative activities with upgraded public spaces, applying the principles of sustainable mobility and emphasizing environmental planning and microclimate improvement. The proposal seeks to highlight the concept of urban resilience as a key quality that today's city must develop in order to secure its future, while reinterpreting its relationship with the past.
Due to the nature of the subject matter, it was deemed necessary for the architects to collaborate with engineers from other disciplines. The contribution of Consortis executives, who have scientific expertise and many years of experience in scientific areas essential to the subject, such as: dealing with urban planning issues, solving traffic issues, converting roads to light traffic, redesigning intersections using appropriate tools, water management and the environmental- bioclimatic approach using specific tools, was extremely important.
Resilient urban design is marked in the proposal by three new 'gates', at the three vertices of the triangle of the study area, which are implemented by generous widening of the pavements that acquire the characteristics of urban squares, accept functions that are related to the three axes of urban resilience (environment, society, economy) and implement the connection with the city and the characteristics of the immediate environment for each of the three areas.
The urban street network is redefined as a dynamic network of routes, pedestrian routes, soft streets, urban squares and small parks. Four sub-sites are located in the study area: The 'Folds of culture' site, includes the outdoor cinema site, sports facilities and part of the natural stream. The site 'The Square', is the area surrounding the Town Hall and Plot 670, while the site, 'Traces of History', is the excavated microsite which is being reinterpreted. Finally, the site 'The Crossroads' picks up and encapsulates the north-western perimeter routes leading to the regeneration area.
The concept of myth is the connecting tissue between the different sites of the study area and is the trigger for the creation of routes, stops and intermediate spaces. It is our intention that elements of the design and function of the microsites will appear, on a smaller scale, throughout the area in order to create spatial micro-events. The network of intermediate spaces is centred around a key route, the Time Trail, which connects hubs and landmarks, with a water element, a reminder of the stream, unfolding along the route. In the stream area, the management of the different elevation stations is proposed in such a way as to create individual micro-sites, at different levels. The spatial spots function as stopping points, collective activities and viewing points and are connected to each other physically and perceptually through a single aerial route, sometimes dipping into the slope and sometimes following its elevations. The existing topography is transformed into landscape sculpture as folds of terrain. The summer cinema space is redesigned with a meridian orientation and organic etchings, into which new supporting spaces are integrated.
In the temple area, two different design modes are followed. The design of the surrounding area of the newer temple is integrated into the wider study area as the same design principles are followed. On the other hand, the design of the exterior of the Byzantine temple is intended to highlight its monumental character, as it is proposed to create stepped seating and staircases, following the axis of symmetry of the temple, in immersion for privacy and contemplation.
The surrounding area of the Town Hall is designed as a free space and an enclave of spontaneous - collective activities, with shady stopping points. The design of Plot 670 refers to the perceptual continuity of the Chrysorroa stream. The forms of the structures, such as the boundaries between hard and soft materials are organic, simulating spatial fragments of a more general whole. The specific forms are repeated throughout the individual elements and design levels. The grandstands are a module found throughout the redevelopment network.
The excavated landscape is reinterpreted. It is proposed that the excavation is accessible to visitors using an aerial walkway and that it is interspersed into the surrounding landscape through the Path of Time. The aerial footpath starts at the stream and plunges into the square, leading the visitor to the excavation. Curves, from the level of the square descend to the pit, creating a staging niche, with a furling sail for shade.
From a traffic point of view, mild interventions are proposed, in line with the proposals of the Sustainable Urban Mobility Plans. The roundabout area is redesigned with the input of traffic engineers and using appropriate tools, and two single-track junctions are proposed. In addition, it is proposed to convert roads into soft roads and to widen pavements. Particular emphasis was placed on water management with proposals for the implementation of rain gardens and specific stormwater management systems. Water management, combined with the provision of appropriate ground cover materials and planting, helps to regulate microclimatic conditions.