The proposal that unanimously won the first prize of the international competition announced by the Municipality of Thessaloniki, for the renovation of this monumental axis of the city, is bound to give Aristotelous Square a new identity that respects the past and at the same time looks to the future. The winning team consists of Ariadne Vozani and Paraskevi Fanou, architects, and associates Grigoris Voutoufianakis – Petropoulos, Theodosia Evdori Panagiotopoulou, architects, and George Retsos, student of architecture.
What does the winning proposal suggest?
The project proposal attempts to highlight Aristotelous Street as the main thoroughfare of Thessaloniki, projecting the modern metropolitan life and image of the city, but also as a place to connect with its recent history. Through a clean organization of carvings and materials for the new flooring, Aristotelous Square is transformed, with its central zone becoming assigned to pedestrians. Traces of the old fabric of the city, before the fire of 1917, are incorporated in the design as “memory threads”, which are projected discreetly on the ground.
A modern architectural approach creates a new identity for the two squares that mark the connection between the city and the sea in this area.
- The new Aristotle Square is transformed into a “mirror of the city”, which reflects different versions depending on the season, the time and the activities taking place. A central part marked with different flooring can take different forms. Remaining dry, it ensures the basic function of the square as a “stage” suitable for events, most of the time, while point water sprinklers can transform it, creating a thin film of water that acts as a reflective surface, doubling the image of the buildings.
- On the side of Egnatia Street, the project proposal suggests the creation of a “room with palm trees”, where tall palm trees in a strict geometric grid offer a natural shading roof and an unobstructed view to the sea and Mount Olympus. The statue of Aristotle is proposed to be transported in front of the grove, facing the sea.
The Mayor of Thessaloniki, Konstantinos Zervas, has stated: “It is time to talk about the new Aristotelous Square, which marks a new era for our city, with optimism and ambition. We are upgrading one of the most famous squares in Europe, changing Thessaloniki’s image and profile. Citizens, residents and visitors will have the opportunity to enjoy a new public space, with new aesthetics, new materials, new approaches, but which still respect the character and the history of our city”.
The Deputy Mayor of Technical Works, Ephraim Kyrizidis, also expressed his satisfaction for the completion of the important work of the jury, which paves the way for one of the most important renovation works planned for Thessaloniki.