The Greek urban design project “e_co_llectiva” by Athanasios Polyzoidis (Architect-Landscape Architect) and Katerina Petsiou (Architect) was awarded with the Salon Grand Prix in the 4th Landscape Architecture Exhibition in Belgrade. In their design, the public space of the streets and the vacant lots in the internal parts of the four building blocks is unified so as to create a single urban garden-park which promotes the concept of collective activity. This intervention is given the title ‘e_co_llectiva’ after ecology (eco), collectivity (collectiva) and new technologies (e). More images and architects’ description after the break.
The Grand Prix Award is given every two years in the Landscape Architecture Exhibition of international character, organized by the Serbian Association of Landscape Architects (SALA). In the 4th Landscape Architecture Exhibition, their project competed with 85 entries from 8 countries and was awarded with the Salon Grand Prix (1st Prize) that corresponds to the project of outstanding quality.
The project “e_co_llectiva” consists one out of the five equal prizes in the recent ideas competition “Athens x4” for young architects in Athens, Greece (2010). The brief called for the selection of four typical Athenian blocks in any neighborhood of the Greek capital with degraded urban environment and the creation of a large new urban plot to be produced by merging them. The intersection of streets inside the new ‘quadruple’ block will serve as a new space for use by all the inhabitants of the block. The competition was organized by the Unification of the Archaeological Sites of Athens and Reconstructions S.A. (ΕΑΧΑ Α.Ε.), in line with the Ministry of Environment, Energy and Climate Change.
In the project the hardscapes finishings of the streets and pavements are removed and the concept of a promenade / tour amongst gardens of different kinds of plantation is introduced. The path is formed by the basic form of the wooden platform which is anchored to the various entrances of the existing buildings as a reference to the ephemeral structures installed on the streets while they are under construction.
These gardens characterized as urban “patches” host various qualities of crops (dry aromatic/herb gardens, filed/ graminea gardens, vegetable plots in the interior courtyards, fruit trees gardens). In regards to its property status, the urban “patch” can be communal for the residents whose properties abut on it. In addition, parts of the softscapes host tall bushes as vegetal ‘barriers’ as well as climbing plants which are used for the creation of the green bioclimatic facades. The ‘negative form’ of the urban ‘patch’ forms the rest areas which are surfaces of stabilized soil where corten lighting poles and judas trees are located.
New uses for the neighborhood are proposed in centers that exploit of the existing abandoned buildings (the “e_co_llectiva” center / center of the neighborhood – coordination center of the cultivation and harvesting process, cultural center /center where workshops on the creative recycling process of urban discarded material and library / film library).
Internet and ephemeral activities (organized in the existing urban void so as to take advantage of its ephemeral character) constitute two additional structural layers of the project, encouraging the participation of residents of other neighborhoods so as to integrate the project in a larger urban network of product exchange and participation (network of flower garden “adoption” located in ephemeral installations made of wooden pallets, participative services through internet platform).
The proposal constitutes a bioclimatic approach where the natural landscape ‘’invades” into the city. It is a sustainable proposal as it relies on self-management; it takes the ecological water management into consideration and the option of using waste-composting methods as well as it promotes the general ecological consciousness. It is a project that can be implemented in successive stages, relatively of low cost because it does not require extensive expropriations and large amount of hardscape finishing products.
Architects: Athanasios Polyzoidis & Katerina Petsiou
Location: Athens, Center, Greece
Competition: “Athens x4” organized by the Unification of the Archaeological Sites of Athens and Reconstructions S.A. (ΕΑΧΑ Α.Ε.)
Prizes: 1st Prize (GRAND PRIX) in the 4th Landscape Architecture Exhibition (Belgrade, 2011); 1st Prize (one out of the Five Equal Prizes) in the National – Pan-Hellenic Architectural Competition “Athens x4”(2010)
Images and Text: Athanasios Polyzoidis & Katerina Petsiou