Architectural Competition of the Redesign of Elefteria Square - Kavala
Architectural Design : Efi Karioti,Architect MSc
Eleni Samara , Architect, MSc VE: 3d images and video Fanis Georgiadis ,Eleni Antoniadou , Elena Lazarina , Sotiris Grigoropoulos , Architecture students
Architect Advisor: Mary Skouloudi, Architect MSc
Lighting design: Athena Sivi ,Electrical Engineer MA
Landscape design Advisor: Christa Lieven - Antoniou Horticulturist PhD, Iro Sfouggari, Agronomist
Traffic engineer: Aleksandros Lamprakis
Eleftheria Square in Kavala lies on the doorstep of the old Ottoman city and is the biggest public space in Kavala. For centuries, right outside the exterior walls, stood the Karavan Sarai, giving shelter to travellers who briefly stopped at the city while on their journeys along via.Egnatia. The muslin cemetery stretched all the way to the seafront which lied where today runs Venizelou Street. The place followed the transformation of the city from a small Ottoman town, to the Balkanic important trading centre in the beginning of the 2oth century and its integration into the Greek state. The decline of the tobacco industry, the second World War turmoil and post war period, kept on removing rather than adding up to the space. Today all that is left from the city’s history is a cypress tree surviving from what used to be the Ottoman mausoleum monument demolished during junta days and a line of linden trees suggesting the old stream that ran along Doiranis Street.
A new open space network comprised by Eleftheria square, Kapnergatis Square and St. Nicholas Church Square, with the connecting pedestrian streets, will constitute the city’s extra mural historic urban centre.
The project focuses on reviving the Squares’ identity by transforming it into a peaceful urban landscape where citizens will connect physically and emotionally with the history of Kavala. Inspired by key emblematic, architectural forms, the design creates new synapses that will invigorate the urban space. The key forms are a) the sheltering enclosed patio found in Karavan Sarai and in other distinguished buildings in the old city (i.e. the Imaret), and the characteristic tobacco warehouses jagged roofs.
The sheltering essence of the patio of Karavan Serai and Imaret is found in the “glades”, circular formed places in the square providing space for everyday urban life manifestations and public events. These spaces act as social condensers without compromising the unity of the square. They provide flexibility for the multiple simultaneous use of space for various purposes. They form a line along the NorthSouth axis all the way to the sea front, following the line of linden trees, constituting a strong unifying element of the project. The first glade is situated at the square’s north side, marking the position where Karavan Serai once stood. It is a simple circle lined with local stone, arranged in the same way the houses circle the Panagia Peninsula, with marble waterfountains and seating place under the trees. As we walk towards the south, next to a small cypresses grove where the old mausoleum once stood, we come across a large circular deck. Festivals, city happenings are welcomed in this open flexible space. Further down to the waterfront three more circular wooden decks are provided for play, social gathering, a walk next to the sea…
The slopping roofs of the tobacco warehouses inspire a floor pattern for the pedestrian street connecting with the Kapnergati square. Entering the square, the floor pattern is transformed in an organic system of subtle “ridges” and “grooves”. The system is visualized by a series of richly textured configurations on the square floor interrupted by planted beds. Trees and plants are selected from the broader geographical region of Kavala. The system’s grooves act also as rain water collectors, leading the water to a tank situated under the circular deck on the low part of the square to be recycled and used for watering of the square plants.
Materiality is an important element of the proposal since materials embody meaning and trancend the concept’s symbolic power. Locally sourced gneiss stone, Kavala marble with stoned surface, textured and hued concrete and ceramic floor bricks are used in combinations to create the square floor. Wood is used in the decks resembling the old wooden docks at the port.
Selection of plants is made from indigenous species only, found in Kavala broader geographical region (Symvolo Oros, Pangeo, Tenagh), creating a stronger bond with the native country.