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The Aheiropoiitos - Haghias Sofias Axis / International Architectural Competition, 2012

Location: Thessaloniki

Client: Ministry of Environment, Energy + Climate Change

Design Team: Efi Karioti, Aggelos Papageorgiou, Mary Skouloudi, Architects

Traffic design: Stylianos Papailiou, Civil Engineer

Mechanical Engineering study: Athena Sivi, Electrical Engineer

Landscaping Study: Anastasios Malamis, Krista Lieven Antoniou, Landscape Designers

Advisor: Paschalis Androudis, Architect



Thessaloniki is organized through a series of parallel and perpendicular lines regarding the sea front. The study addresses the issue of re redesigning the axis in terms of an ecological, pedestrian friendly approach, to reconnect the upper part of the town with the sea and to connect the three most important historical monuments that lie along its way, Achiropoiitos Church, Saint Sofia Church and the Metropolis.

Traffic has altered the substance of the urban fabric. We propose an extended pedestrian area along the axis keeping the vehicle flow through to a minimum. Water is introduced as a reminder of the stream that lies beneath – before any human construction took upon. Along that comes a thin green line a lifeline with plants from the greek nature that can be adjusted to that particular city-scape.

Collection and re-use of rain water is the main theme. Integration of the irrigation system in the architectural concept (water channels, communating vessels) produces the means to interpret the way of the water through the axis.

Reevaluating the relief and renegotiating the existing borders of the freed terrain produces new space correlations. The floor becomes the main canvas for the urban life. The floor changes along the descend from more rough texture to the more   softened as we approach the sea the natural stratigraphy caused by a waterstream.  For Agia Sophia square a mosaic floor has been chosen that echoes history but reinterprets it in a modern way.

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