Rehabilitation of Eleftheria Square

The magnificent Byzantine mosaics pulsing in time and space, and the consideration of the city’s formation as a huge mosaic was the inspiration for the concept of our proposal. We borrowed the compositional structure of Byzantine mosaics to organize the space of Eleftheria Square. We created a spatial grid covering the whole study area, a deformed in three dimensions grid caused by “tensions” due to the “dynamic” elements of the region. The design shapes the square as part of the broader city mosaic.
A review of all targets set by the tender competition led to the hierarchy and evaluation of priorities in relation to the program data. They led us to a series of decisions that characterize our proposal, which are briefly:
The extension of the area of the square until the building facades of the surrounding streets, keeping a low traffic. In that way the square is integrated to the urban fabric serving mainly the pedestrians.
The creation of an urban park, a combination of a square and park without strict demarcations. All elements (movements and stands, planting, shelters and seating, lighting and other street furniture, water features and themed gardens) are carefully placed as larger or smaller units – inlays in the mosaic – in places defined by the axes, except the violent gap that reveals the findings of the old sea wall, connecting the city’s past with the present. The formations extend, penetrate the surrounding streets and end up in the sea, as a complex platform immersed in the water. The diversity of forms, shapes and materials create a sense of “disorientation” and spiritual tranquility.
The use of a repetitive element that highlights our proposal. A simple triangular pattern, inspired by the recent victims of Nazi brutality appears in almost the entire area of the square. Clusters of such repetitive triangular patterns seem to emerge from the ground or penetrate it. They create gaps or lead the bright rays of the sun, they sparkle on the shelters or even surge into the sea.
The incorporation of several elements and systems aiming at improving the comfort conditions of the users as well as enhancing energy savings
The urban furniture acts supplementary and contributes to the aesthetic and functional integration of the architectural design of the square. All elements share a common morphological logic adapting suitably to each type. These include sitting benches, special lighting fixtures, bollards, bicycle parking, liter bins, electronic boards and bus stops.
Landscape design is an important part of the architectural design in regard to the reformation of Eleftheria Square. The proposed interventions involve four main actions with the aim not only to reshape but also to preserve the current state of landscape vegetation in the square. These include: management of existing trees, planting of new trees or other vegetation, either used for shading purposes or for covering the ground (such as broadleaved trees, herbs, small shrubs, aromatic plants and lawn-covered areas), installation of an irrigation system, depending on the irrigation needs of the plant species, as well as on the optimal water saving requirements, and conservation of the landscape.
The plant species will be chosen in terms of the phytosociological, morphological/aesthetical, climatic and other practical conditions. In particular, the plant species were chosen based on their characteristics, as being part of the Hellenic Flora (in majority), as well as being resistant to the particularities of the area (urban area with air pollution, in close vicinity to the sea).
Electromechanical installations concern mainly lighting, irrigation and concentration of rain water for watering of plants.
Lighting plays a significant role in the design of the square. The chosen luminaires further highlight the grid as they are placed at the intersections of the various elements of the “mosaic”. A new and modern lighting is provided according to CEN 1320, supported by lighting control system for the maximum energy conservation. Furthermore a software is used for the best performance of lighting in the following three sectors: pedestrian areas lighting, green areas lighting and architectural lighting identifying important landmarks.

Papafi Cultural Center

Our proposal aims at satisfying all requirements and specifications set by the tender, and at the same time provide a contemporary and innovative building complex, which will meet all functional, technological and aesthetic needs of today and will become a landmark in the area.

Design concept

The design concept starts from a compact building volume, which breaks up, then separates, then is displaced, then bends due to the interaction with the urban fabric, resulting in the penetration of the urban space inside the plot and among the two volumes. The breakup and bending of volumes causes also the “breakage” of the ceramic shell inside, alternating the linearity of the shell with vertical panels and glazing.

The building is “offered” to the inhabitants through the creation of free public spaces, squares, sitting areas, green areas and various additional activities developed around it. The planted roofs replace the old ceramic roof of the existing building, which remains as a reminder in the choice of shell material.

Architectural design

The complex consists of two elongated bended buildings: K1, a four-storey building and K2, a three-storey building. The complex includes also two basements, the first with a parking area of 83 slots and the second with technical and auxiliary spaces. The complex is served by four main cores of vertical communication. The allocation of the various uses in the two buildings is described below: Building K1, Ground floor: Day Care Center for the Elderly, Citizen Service Center and Guest House; 1st floor: Community Medical center and Guest House; 2nd floor: Municipal Library; 3rd floor and mezzanine: Municipal Gym. Building K2, Ground floor: Nursery and Memory Space-Archive; 1st floor: Nursery; 2nd floor: Offices of fourth Community and Associations and Multipurpose Hall. An outdoor cinema is located on the terrace of building K2. The two buildings are connected through an elevated bridge and a grid of external corridors/balconies and staircases.

The volume organization of the complex reflects the general concept. The complex is “wrapped” around by a second skin/shell consisting of linear ceramic elements, alternating in solid or perforated zones according to the needs of lighting and visual isolation. This solid shell is interrupted on the inside facades and replaced by a vertical curtain wall consisting of solid and glass panels.

The building complex is designed following the bioclimatic principles in order to achieve the best possible sustainability performance and consume the less possible energy, while thermal and visual comfort is offered to its users.

Landscape design

Landscape design is related also to the general concept. Public space penetrates the complex, creating triangle squares. Hard and soft scape interconnect resulting in a mosaic of materials and colors. Proposed materials match the ones of the building that is ceramic flooring and concrete in different textures.

Airport Towers

The project concerns a building complex consisting of a big scale Shopping Mall along with residential and office buildings, with a total build area of 440.000 sqm underground spaces and 580.000 sqm over the ground spaces. It is located in a plot area of approximately 78.000 sqm, in the north-west side of Erbil in Iraq – one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world – just one kilometer away from city’s airport.
The proposal is based on a City in the City concept. Mall’s articulation with Residential and Office uses, gives the whole premise a dynamic and lively character. The intention is to create an architectural context that will develop into a tempting integrated urban destination for the whole province. Shopping, leisure, relaxing, all visitors’ needs satisfied in a commercial and entertainment Center that will combine high-class services with exquisite recreation and will attract both tourists and permanent city habitants.
The shopping Mall, a linear crest emerging from the ground, like a dominant “citadel” creating a delicate basis on which multi-storey buildings are rising up. Office volume is formed like a geometrically minimal solid form and articulated in horizontal shapes that sketch a calm background in front of which Residence towers twist like upright glowing prisms in different colors. The whole complex is set up like a tectonic synthesis that is articulated like precious stones – Erbil’s Jewels – floating to the sky.
Inside the Mall, main public corridor is formed like a River Oasis, a rapture in the fabric of nature, a challenge to discover the amazing, blending nature and tradition with contemporary aesthetics, offering the visitor a whole new experience.
Mall buildings facades and main features are articulated as a combination between solid and transparent, folded in a delicate metal “lace”, inspired by the shapes created from tree shadows in the woods.
Nature, Water and Sky Light are the main inspirational elements used to quilt building’s indoor and outdoor public spaces.
A raised Plaza on Mall’s roof is the main open square, creating the impression of a “corniche”, a leisure promenade that attracts visitors and modulates the “peak” through this new retail experience, giving the impression that nature is “climbing” over the whole premise. This Plaza offers the city a leisure place for all climatic conditions, with areas completely open and others that can convert from outdoor to indoor.
This sequence of hanging gardens promotes nature’s image in long distances away from the building, acting together with glowing gem Towers, as an insignia for the whole district.