A competition for the transformation of a former cemetery in Nikea, just west of central Athens, has been won by Greek firm Topio7, with a proposal that creates a revitalized public park as a result of “a mutual osmosis between the park and the city”. A number of green buffer zones – “the elastic limit” – are utilized to frame a procession-like journey from the bustle of the city to the calm of the park’s landscape.
Highlighting the importance of the site’s previous use, the architects explain that the “main objective of the project is the creation of an open, accessible public space, a contemporary urban park with ecological-bioclimatic character, with special emphasis on the social dimension and the site’s memory.”
Previously inaccessible to the public, the renewed site is based on a series of circular zones, connecting the promenade and plazas on the perimeter to the heart of the park. Here, a clearing provides rest areas and recreation spots, as well as an embedded restaurant featuring a corten steel façade, which offers views of a meadow from its accessible rooftop.
Following the same linear axes as the original cemetery, the park’s primary promenades are composed of cobblestone and green joints, overgrown with wildflowers. Landscaped zones are central to the project’s design, and include a Church plaza, embedded amphitheater, Mediterranean gardens, fruit tree clearings and a wetland. Fauna such as cypress and water jets have been preserved, complimenting new plantings that combine to create a filter of vegetation.
The elastic green buffer zones offer new uses for the space, as a continuous connection with the urban fabric. Sports courts, playgrounds, outdoor gyms, picnic areas, a mountain bike track and a small farm are potential programs that could be implemented, in addition to lightweight wooden kiosks for information services and outdoor bazaars.
A walking, jogging and cycling track snakes its way between the green zones, allowing users to experience the diverse areas of the park at different paces.
News via: Topio7 Architects.
- Architects: topio7
- Design Team: Katerina Andritsou, Panita Karamanea, Thanasis Polyzoidis
- Area: 4600.0 m2
- Project Year: 2016
- Photographs: Courtesy of Topio7 Architects
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