The new circulation system for Athens fundamentally changes the role of Panepistimiou Street, changing it from a interchange area into a traffic-free strip, inbetween the two main traffic arteries, which will turn into the fulcrum of the city centre’s public spaces. This new traffic system will change the street from a passing place into a destination, that can turn into the main public area in Athens.
On this basis we make the following choices:
- To elimate the up-down traffic flow and linear visual appearance of the street:
- To preserve the ample dimensions of the space, as it will become a considerable traffic-free space, and emphasise its size through of a project using the fewest materials possible (designed of paving and greenery). The space is optimised without having to put in place physical divisions.
- To connect Panepistimiou Street with all the other central parks Athens. This all-important “linking up” means that a single park is formed branching out with several tentacles. – Panepistimiou street, which was once the centre of the Modern Athens will once again become such: it becomes critical to re-evaluate neoclassical buildings, by redesigning the areas around them. The project is based on the following themes: 1 – SHARED SPACE The redesign of Panepistimiou street is based on the principle of “shared space”, a street that is not divided up into lanes rather it is made up of a uniform space to be shared by all different types of users. For this reason, we are considering the ground of Panepistimiou street as follows: • A single surface, which can be for different uses and means of transport • An open urban space: the uniform surface becomes a free platform. • Through the use of trees, kiosks, etc. the street is no longer restricted to linear or transversal traffic, thereby eliminating the axes perspectives. The shared space strategy allows for a uniform ground surface design as well as for the use of a green design using both row formation and ad-hoc planting. The uniform design of the urban ground surface is brought about by the use of a minimal design element, the Athina tile, in the same way as Gaudi developed a tile for Barcelona. This forms the basis for the uniform design of the public area, allowing for variety whilst not compromising the uniformity. The green is designed to improve the comfort and also to change the current perception of Panepistimiou street. This is the reason for its role of predominent material used in the project, in three different forms: trees, green ground cover, hanging green. The individual sites of the project (Trilogy, Korai, Omonia, Dikaiosynis) are treated in different ways depending on their function and their architectural features. There are two main differences: one is the areas with historic buildings, the other is the concept of spaces as urban living rooms. For the first the proposal is to reconsider the importance of the historic buildings, urban cornerstones of modern Athens. Whereas Piazza Omonia e piazza Dikaiosynis are considered as “urban living rooms”, places to spend time and platforms for events.