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/stratigraphy

Competition entry for the redesign of Eleftherias Square in Thessaloniki.

The historical center of Thessaloniki is characterized by high residential density, hence public green and recreational spaces are invaluable.

The area’s particular character, intended symbolism and contemporary urban design trends shape the proposal’s synthetic principles:

  • Emphasis on the city’s tendency towards the sea and the waterfront.
  • Harmonious design of planting against hard urban surfaces, resulting in a plethora of stimuli and imagery.
  • Enrichment and redefinition of the area’s urban planting.
  • Reclamation of open public space with guaranteed accessibility for all.

The synthetic process focuses on activating the square through a grand gesture, expressed with imagery and symbols derived from nature, life, and the location.

In an effort to underline the square’s historical memory, a series of consecutive moments in time are being unearthed in place. A section cut reveals the past and symbolizes the collective memory. The urban overlay is withdrawn to expose the natural earth. A new landscape, which depicts the city’s ambiance, acts as a landmark.

The resulting landscape’s loose boundaries intensify the contrast with the man–made. Alternating color–grouped planting in the valley aims to accentuate seasonal differentiation. Mediterranean plants with low irrigation and maintenance requirements along with the tall trees which provide shading, contribute to a pleasant micro–climate and the aesthetic improvement of the waterfront.

Eleftherias Square embodies the properties of a relaxation space for mental relief and recreation. A refuge in the center of a busy street that takes the visitor to another dimension.

Hard surface areas are paved with concrete–based cool materials that do not absorb large amounts of solar radiation and do not store significant amounts heat, thus avoiding overheating during summer.

Low vegetation and tree foliage reduce ambient temperature as a result of evapotranspiration. They also diffuse solar radiation, reducing its intensity, thus achieving visual and thermal comfort.