OMONOIA

Regeneration of Omonoia Square, Athens -GR

3rd Prize in architectural competition, 1998

Architects: Panos Dragonas, Varvara Christopoulou
 

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Omonoia Square has been the meeting point of different worlds. It is the node that the prosperous eastern part of Athens meets its long-time neglected west side. It is the place where modern Athens coexists with 19th century neoclassical fragments. It is the public space that native residents meet the economic immigrants. It is the point where the illegal activities that take place around Athinas and Socratous Streets, are spread into the commercial and leisure zones of Panepistimiou and Stadiou Streets. Omonoia is a place of unexpected encounters with its own distinct identity, offering many different options to passers-by.

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In this design proposal, the square has been shaped as a landscape with oblique concrete surfaces. In areas of pedestrian traffic, the slopes do not exceed 6%. Steeper surfaces (15 to 40%) create visual barriers which isolate the pedestrian area from vehicle circulation. People may climb on all surfaces during mass gatherings. In this situation, the square functions as a container which is filled with liquid. The lack of vertical elements in public space strengthens Omonoia's identity as a meeting place.

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The bright billboards that were characteristic of 1960's Athens, are reintroduced in the square in such a way as to highlight Omonoia's notable neoclassical and modernist buildings.

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