Metropolitan Park in Thessaloniki

20 December, 2011

Metropolitan Park in Thessaloniki

The issue of our thesis project is planning a metropolitan park in the city of Thessaloniki. The study area is the area which today houses the international exibition of Thessaloniki (HELEXPO).

Greek version

Students : Vasiliki Kostoglou, Eleni Mitsi
Supervisor Teacher : George Patrikios
Democritus University of Thrace, Department of Architecture, Sector of Urban Design
Presentation date : 04/04/2011


(Plate 1)


The issue of our thesis project is planning a metropolitan park in the city of Thessaloniki. The study area is the area which today houses the international exibition of Thessaloniki (HELEXPO).

After studying the area and captured the characteristics on maps (plate 1), we began an analysis in a more zoom scale, around the region. Our main conclusions were concerning the main road links of the city with the region today and  its signal in relation to the wider urban web, land uses on its borders and the ratio of open free spaces in the area.

Our first observation was that our intervention area is a gap between the limits of the city center and residential neighborhood that characterizes the eastern limits. The pace of the city dropped sharply in the exhibition area and a dark, unfamiliar and without use of land that must be crossed by the passer to move from his residence at the center and vice versa. This rare use of space without daily urban activities to feed the influx of residents, is the main problem that establishes the area as "ghetto."

Our second major observation was that the north and south of the current I.E.T. area, there are open public spaces interspersed from her and create an irreparable discontinuity. So maybe the only opportunity to create a series of open public spaces in the center of town is lost, which is vital to give a breeze to the squeeze of the center.

Finally, a very important factor in our planning was the oriental cultural axis, which starts by the statue of Alexander the Great on the beach and ends at Teloglion institution north of the IET. (Plate 2) This axis though it has never functioned as a key urban element, we felt that it could lay around this cluster of free open spaces of the park's of the White Tower to the forest of Sheih Sou.

In its original intentions (plate 3) we therefore maintain that the cultural axis and designated to the main urban component, as union of sea and mountains, for someone who is on foot. Also, we wanted to break this hard linear boundary that existed between our region and Angelaki str., and conduct the uses of the city web to the park and vice versa. Something similar we wanted to manage with the relationship of the limits with the universities, but with a more controlled filtering influence of one region to another, because we knew that the university takes particular group of people at specified hours. On the east side of our area, while trying to open its boundaries to the residential area after the road September 3, we realized this: we met a second limit, in the third army corps. This area,today, although it has been used, applies only to those who work there, is inaccessible and does not host any public activity, apart from the war museum. (Plate 6) Thus, in a broader political regeneration of this key area of ​​the city, we decided that the site of the corps will be included in this study for future park.

There was a need for an urban square, opposite of the fountain, the northwestern boundary, which will collect people from the city center with a gesture and lead them to the center of the park. Then we noticed that the route Svolou (plate 1) overwhelmed by commerce and recreation, but without having the unchanging nature of Tsimiski and Egnatia, the north and east limits. We decided that the extension of the park will penetrate in this urban square and give a bit of character which the street has now. Another thing that we wanted was to have a decompression at the intersection of cultural axis and macedonian museum, to create there a new connection with the buildings of cultural use on the street Stratou. (Plate 4).  Then another square would be in the region where ancient ruins of a cemetery are now,  in the September 3. That point, also archaeological Square, could be associated, in a larger scale, with the museums in the army but also with a matching square, created in Dimitrios Gounaris. Finally the intersection of our area with the street Papafi, characterized of mild pleasure, will open up a square to the urban web to form a center of attendance . (Plate 5)

All these openings and uses will connect in a longitudinal axis that runs through the park, with the extension of Svolou to consist the main entrance. This axis is the main component of the park is located so as to bridge the gap between the neighborhood and the city center, since the transverse direction is already the cultural axis, which serves a similar purpose. As rates fall as we approach the city on the east side of the region, simulated in this development and the axis is more simple and readable, without crosses and double heights, and so tends to pull the stroller into the urban web of the city. (plate 7)

So this path anchore it all: recreation and commerce in the entrance of the pellets, cultural space at the intersection with the cultural axis, which includes the Macedonian museum, an archeological site, at a lower level of the shaft, but anchored to cut him and finally a gallery that expands the boundaries of the army and in direct connection to the new town hall.

The urban squares which are devoted to the urban web were created by the stimulus of the current use of the surrounding areas. Thus, in relation to the entrance of the University of Macedonia, it was created a square which will not only host the exit of the subway but will also filter the public and channel them to the field of the Alexander Melathron. Another square which is devoted to the urban web is the one located in the area in which the square that introduced you in the IET already existed, in closed proximity to the Tsimiski avenue. Situated opposite to the archeological museum and having expand into it the veliddeio convention center and the tower of OTE, this square will be a "picture of the city" in conjuction with the buildings for cultural use located opposite (archaeological museum, Byzantine museum, YMCA). Finally, it is important to mention how the linearity of the cultural axis is changing, as it was accustomed to the memory of the people, so as to introduce the pedestrian with a variety of gestures within different usage regions of the park. Its entrance and exit remain unchanged to the surroundings , because they are serving as landmarks to the image of the city by the time the exhibition began to operate in this area (plate 8) (plate 9)

Two large areas for planting exist in the park. One is located around the Alexander Melathron in such a height so as to prevent the entry to the field from the bottom side, but simultaneously defines it as a landmark from the top side. The second area is located between the old camps buildings- destined to serve as work places that will help the area to have a daily constant flow of people- and introduces to the park the natural landscape that we can see opposite to it. Moreover a small planting hill has been created on the rear boundary of the university so as to give to the students the privacy they need in relation to the park.

The plants used were selected according to their characteristic; short, tall, evergreen, deciduous, color and smell. (Plate 10)

In conclusion, we believe that without changing the solid values which are recorded in the memory of people, gentle and in human scale, this park solves important issues of a larger scale of the city centre of Thessaloniki. It also works with adjacent areas, which are currently not in use and gives them a character complementary to its own.


(Plate 2)

(Plate 3)

(Plate 4)

(Plate 5)

(Plate 6)

(Plate 7)

(Plate 8)

(Plate 9)

(Plate 10)



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