ARCHITECTURAL IDEAS COMPETITION FOR REDEVELOPMENT – UPGRADING OF THE ”BALKAN SQUARE”

//ARCHITECTURAL IDEAS COMPETITION FOR REDEVELOPMENT – UPGRADING OF THE ”BALKAN SQUARE”

Project

Client: Ministry of Environment, Energy and Climate Change

Area: Thessaloniki

Summary of the Technical Description of the Architectural Study

The main objective of this study was to organize a system of open and closed urban spaces according to the programs objectives. The key in this project was to create a single multi-functional space for the region, in order to be useful to both the daily needs of residents and also to visitors of the area, with recreations, sports, games, secure parking area etc. and also to revitalize the events of the Balkan Square which have become a tradition that characterizes the area.
The various individual uses given by the program are functional and aesthetical at the same time and they complement each other when necessary, also an economical approach was considered for the construction given the general financial situation, and at the same time to allow alternative methods of exploitation of a permanent or seasonal basis of the theater, exhibitions, playgrounds, storage areas, parking etc.
A gradual structure of the facilities is attempted from the highest to the lowest level of the available area, so the main level of the square to have an open horizon to the north, where the interesting views of the surrounding hills are located hence the creation of new uses such as underground parking, open plan theater, sports, center for care and entertainment of the elder, etc. Also some traffic rearrangements where added to the main urban design such as paving certain low circulation roots and enhancement of main junctions in order to have better access to the square, underground parking and general area.
The architectural design in this project is based on a main curve surrounding the urban design of the square and the view from the north part of the site, which is more interesting to approach. The outdoor theater with capacity of 2800 seats marks the southern part of the site, which lies at the highest level of all the main areas, the football stadium is placed on the north part of the site in order to be open to the northern horizon with the interesting views. The underground car park of 456 parking spaces completes this axis and occupies the north side of the main square and the rest lies underground. In relation to this main axis we have located the remaining facilities such as the building that hosts the elder people of the area, combined with a cafe, the park of traffic education, but also we are enhancing the movement to the existing school building, on the southeastern corner of the area, where there is exploitation of the physical height difference from the school so the building is designed half berried as an energy efficient and environment friendly infrastructure. On either side of the axis, beyond the slight fence of the court we have placed the new playground and the prefabricated structures for periodical exhibitions. The area is crossed by main pedestrian and bicycle paths along the curve that surrounds the site, which starts from the lowest level of the site where the traffic education park is placed and ends near the environmental education park, erasing a large curve behind the theater, from which is essentially the connection to the whole area. Underground the theater invites certain facilities that serve the theater, the stadium and the square generally.
To conclude in order to make sure that we provide environmental comfort to the users of the square we create permanent shed structures in different parts of the space where a seating area is fitted. Also to improve the microclimate of the area we enhanced it with certain water elements that contribute to the general cooling of the area. Finally we strengthened the existing tree planting and land tender with more trees and grass spaces along the biggest part of the site.