1st Architectural Biennial Beijing 2004

3 Gardens + 1 Square: proposal for a new public space in Livadi Olympos”

“Exhibition of Architectural Works of Students and Young Architects” in the 1st Architectural Biennial Beijing 2004 (ABB2004). Honorary mention.

Diploma project presented in the Department of Architecture, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, March 2004.

The project investigates the role of contemporary architecture as a mean of creating contemporary public spaces in traditional environments. In Greece public space, in small cities and even more in villages, lack of certain qualities and design.
The site where the project takes place is the village “Libadi” on the foothill of
mount Olympus (“Olympos”) known as the mount of the Ancient Greek Gods, in northern Greece. Libadi is located at a 1200m above sea level and has about 2800 inhabitants. It is one of the very few villages in Greece, with that population, in such an elevation. As a living settlement in a difficult environment, has chanced a lot regarding the building stock that is no longer characterized as traditional (rather as low quality contemporary constructions).
But on the other hand its old (from 18th century) structure of street network and the low scale of buildings preserve a traditional beauty that comes in balance with the exceptional surrounding environment.
The project re-design largest free public space of the village, where today is located a small recreation area and a park. The site is situated in the lower end of the village and has the best view to any direction: the mount Olympus, to the Peraivia plain etc.

The main idea of the proposal is that of creating a contemporary public space for the people of the village and visitors, which could cover the needs for multifunctional public spaces, recreation, activities and culture. Moreover a special attention was given to the capability of the public space to be functional all time of the year, even in the difficult winter weather. That lead to the idea of semi covered, covered and indoor public spaces that would create an organism of uses, structures and theme areas.

The main architectural gesture can be described as: a main covered route that meets 3 enclosed gardens and a new covered public square.

The three gardens, that where conceived as them
e gardens, are:
- Garden of knowledge (a proposal that redesigns the area around the existing school buildings)

- Garden of the trees (an enclosed garden with a green roof created by the trees)

- Garden with rooms (an enclosed garden divided in rooms with different characteristics,
materials, a labyrinth of different senses).

The new square, is a large (50x50m) covered space combined in a complex
with a large multifunctional building at its one side and a floating cafe-restaurant on the other side. A space for open air exhibitions, markets, concerts etc.