At the competition’s program, the concepts square and park take turns, describing a project of multiple uses and of a mixed texture. The primary target of architects, Yannis Kizis, Costandis Kizis, Thymis Dougkas, and Gregory Patsalosavvis is the change of the scenery: a green land expanded in relieved territory, with strong character, with the dominance of nature, a new experience of a specific public space. More images and architects’ description after the break.
The relatively small area of the GSP’s derelict stadium, seven and a half times smaller than the Parisian Parc André Citroën and twenty one times than the Athenian Mars Field , is required to absorb all that people’s flood expected at an urban square, the recreation of a park, the entertainment and the commercial activity of an assembly of buildings.
The derelict stadium is situated on the most important road axis of Nicosia. The park/square must be dynamically incorporated in that axis, and do not remain a sideway area. The concept of the proposal is born from the bypass of that axis featuring three main targets:
- Inward looking green land, isolated from the city and the traffic. - Open-air theater of urban gatherings, as used to happen at GSP. - Commercial support of the operating viability of the project.
The idea of the bypass aspires to serve those three targets by only one gesture: with the folding of the field into a relieved territory, by submerging the ground in its middle and lifting it up at the edges. The “upraising” of the edges mould new urban fronts and offer access from the park/square to the State Theatre’s foyer. Its terrace completes the amphitheatrical public space, turning the theatre to a spectator of the park.
Two slots in the ground accommodate commercial fronts along the bypass, whereas a long pergola along Evagorou street roofs over commercial uses, with a water filter in between the passage and the promenade of the park. This “water-curtain” ends in a creek at the open-air theatre’s side, improving its microclimate.
Design development aimed at:
The south urban front:
- Intensity at the axis of Evagorou street with the long pergola/shed. - Protected route from rain, with the appropriate folding of the pergola’s plates, in order to divert the water through perpendicular gutters to the creek of the open-air theatre. - Continuous view of the park/square from the sidewalk, sometimes without obstacles, other times through filters: transparent shops, water-curtain. - Gradual descent to the public spaces of the first basement, on the same level of the open-air theatre’s “orchestra”. - Scenery at the background of the amphitheater and the square, including the coffee shops and the street’s traffic on high level, the galleries and bookshop on lower level. - “Foreground”, “coulisses” and “backstage” at the semi-open-air areas of the north side. - Refreshing slopes by the creek’s small waterfalls and the water-curtain in the cavity of the open-air theatre.
The “magnetic fields” towards the urban center:
- Coffee shops and restaurants at both sides of the two accesses, like condensers of social gathering and recreation. - Ending of the square at the third recreation pole, the coffee shop of the Theatre, with landmark the old clock to remind the old GSP. - Basement’s skylights, supplementary to the nocturnal lighting – an “invitation” for a promenade at the square.
The public uses of the first basement:
- Layout of the areas in order to be available for alternative arrangements. - Accommodation of conferences and multiple social events up to 150 persons.
The public parking:
- Access at four traffic lanes permitting 1.700 cars to move fluently, without causing traffic jam to the city. - A friendly landscaping of the façades of the Mediterranean Hill with creeping plants at the East Access. - A gentle connection with open-air view to the entrance staircase of the Theatre at the West Access.
The landscaping optimized the morphological and planting elements of the Cypriot scenery, in interchangeable color entities, in a way that the season’s changes can be underlined. One can detect different qualities at the three entities: Mediterranean Hill east, Parkland of deciduous trees on the west slope and Pinewood in the open-air theatre.
Hair-grass grows on ground soil and in spring wild flowers blossom. Along Evagorou street deciduous wisterias spread all over the pergola. During springtime they are full of purple flowers , while in the summer they develop a rich and thick foliage• the big cypriot ficus at the pavements along with the wisterias constitute the “alley” of the south front. On the rest of the pavements the fruitless sycamore trees provide shade during the summer months. All the proposed plants have little need for watering and maintenance.
The consideration of the climatic elements of Nicosia indicates as primary target the confronting of the summer . The best technique for cooling is natural ventilation supplemented by immediate evaporation. For high temperatures and relatively reduced humidity this role is undertaken by the water-curtain.
Somebody can stop or walk in the shade under planted canopies and the pergola. According to the windrose west-southwest winds prevail in summer. The placement of the built-up masses and of plants favours the blow of these benevolent winds. The pergola protects from the sun the shops of Evagorou street. The sufficient plant coverage over the roofs of the other shops provides positive energy response.
The responding of the architectural design to climate conditions is amplified by energy saving installations . Geothermal heat pumps for the air-conditioning of the main areas , heat recovery from the rejected air, re-use of the “grey” waters and modern software optimizing installations’ operation are the main choices of the mechanical project. All installations satisfy updated specification for the square, the shops and the underground parking.
Cutting down the thickness of the concrete slabs cuts down the depth of the excavation, the risk that derives from it, the underground water pressure level and the cost. The most efficient combination of cost effective and fast construction is the concreting of levels at a thickness 30 cm without supporting beams, but with special counter – shear reinforcement at the heads of the pillars. The accommodation of parking places dictates composite columns 40×40-60 cm, with steel sections embodied to the concrete in a grid of 7.5×7.5.
On the ceiling of the first basement due to significant ground loads, the structure is thicker, with an arrangement of beams adapted to the demands of the superstructure. The accesses to the garage are dealt with special construction of cantilever slabs. The front on Evagorou Street with the pergola/shed is made out of steel with composite beams and columns.
The security of the nearby buildings , the economy and the time concern of the project dictate the application of the method “top down”. According to that method the structure of the building itself is its internal retaining. The perimeter pile barrier and the internal steel piles are preceding and then the levels are concreted on the ground, starting gradually from top to bottom.
Architects: Yannis Kizis, Costandis Kizis, Thymis Dougkas, Gregory Patsalosavvis Location: Nicosia, Cyprus Structure: Phaidon Karydakis Mechanical Engineering: Christos Zombolas Sustainability: Elias Zacharopoulos Landscaping: Elli Pangalou Renderings: Demitris Batis – Batis Design Graphic Design: Leandros Katsouris