Redesigning Klafthmonos Square

26 April, 2013

Redesigning Klafthmonos Square

An innovative proposal for a major square in Central Athens. The project connects the historical layers of the city and introduces an adaptive design with dynamic structural elements to address the complex problems of the contemporary metropolis.

Greek version

Students : Bisti Marianna, Saratsis Emmanuel
Supervisors : Andreas Kourkoulas, Ariadni Vozani
Consultans : Manios Emmanuel, Rossis Nikos, Vordonarakis Emmanuel, Marlanti Maria, Korres Emmanuel, Martinos Stavros
National Technical University of Athens, Greece, School of Architecture
Date of presentation : July 2012

Through the bleak landscape that has been shaped by the collapse of the economy, the city of Athens emerges in social and cultural crisis. The consequences of this phenomenon are reflected in the already discredited public space of the city, condemning it to a rampant degradation and desertification.



In this context, we choose to deal with the historic center of Athens, focusing on Klafthmonos Square, a non-digestible area with occasional function, cut-off from the urban environment and unregistered to the collective memory of the city's inhabitants. It is an empty 'container' in the heart of Athens.


The square is located at the point where three different historical layers of the city overlap:

- the topological layer upon which the ancient wall is traced;
- the organically developed layer of the old city, with reference to the St. Theodore Church;
- the layer of the neoclassical city, with reference to the buildings of the Neoclassical Trilogy.



The design's central idea is the neoclassical layer's detachment from the topology, a gesture which highlights and attributes vital space to the city's layers. Two squares are formed in two different levels with clearly distinct geometrical characteristics and unconventional materials; wood, a material that evokes a sense of warmth and hospitality, and soil, a natural material that disappeared under the hard textures of modern-day urbanization.



The proposal also includes integration with Korai street, which is thoroughly redesigned. A newly excavated level underlying the existing street, connects the square with the lobby of the nearby subway station. The unified materials of the paths on both levels, intensify the sense of public space continuity, leading uninterrupted pedestrian flows inside the redesigned area.



Our intention is to create an action platform, a space that can potentially accommodate diverse activities. In order to achieve flexibility, mobile elements with mechanical properties are installed, introducing variability to the square. Furthermore, the inclusion of a Music Conservatory serves flexibility, since music is open to everyone, allows ad-hoc meetings, spontaneity and releases the public space from consumption and shop operating hours.



Through our intervention we envision a public space functioning all-day, open, with uninterrupted flows and continuous visibility, a counterpoint to the current conditions of the square and its surrounding area.


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