Topos and Astra – Rethink Athens.

On 28. April 2013 by Daniel Grünkranz

The project concerns the re-design and the revitalization of the city center of Athens. Thereby it aims for the preservation of the multifaceted functionality of the center and for the strengthening of its public and commercial facilities. Historical traces and architectonical landmarks of different epochs characterize the city. This is also particularly true for the green areas hills which rise within the city area of Athens and are widely kept from buildings. They constitute a distinct opposite in contrast to the densely built city quarters of the city.

Inspired by this situation our design establishes a new topography within the project area to generate an antithesis towards the densely built-up areas. Public space and its places gain new qualities by emergent forms of organization and by the development of alternatives concerning transportation and individual car traffic. The project area encompasses some of the major places in Athens like Omonia square, Dykaiosynis square in front of the universities as well as the Panepistimiou – one of the major axis of the inner city of Athens.  

The concept emanates from the situation of an array of distinctive points in the city area, which signify scenic and architectonical landmarks, and which form a structural and qualitative contrast towards the fabric of the city. The city’s texture is dominated by grids. The project was seeking for more organic forms of organization. First, they offer the possibility to deal with the scale of the project area. Second, they serve as origin for the accentuation of the new dynamic topography. Beginning with a point structure – becoming evermore denser and marking the origin of functional fields –, the design instrument lead from points to fields through a parametric Voronoi-diagram. The generated patterns were means for the final design operations. The fluid morphology is expected to develop effects that make the retrieval of public and urban life possible. Decisive is the accentuation of fields, the production of places serving communication and interaction, and the production of a new urban identity.

Topos/Place         

The generated topography strengthens the existing and participates at new situations. It connects places and offers places while it implements an array of services and facilities. This landscape relates to the existing symbols of Athens while establishing a new highlight in the urban fabric. The task of the landscape is the production of meaningful conditions for public urban life.

Astra/Star

Corresponding to the development of the landscape a partly interactive “lightscape” was designed which shapes the public space in the night-time; the area obtains a night-time identity while it meets the need for safety uttered by citizens. Different lighting elements (spotlights, streetlights, light installations) generate a strip of lights with different density and intensity resembling a row of stars.

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