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Athens Shrinking

FORA + Aleksandra Kiszkielis, Alexander Geroussis, Vasilis Oikonomopoulos
Competition - Urban Plan - Athens - 2010

The Ruin
Urban shrinkage was first experienced in Athens during the 80s and became most obvious in the 90s, where permanent residents and businesses abandoned central areas in favour of suburban life. Buildings and streets were left to decay. In the years that followed, the result was destructive and with time those areas became characterised by social problems. A shadow of their past, areas of historical, architectural and social importance have been turned into the most vulnerable elements of an urban terrain, monstrously expanding further outside.

Urban Voids
The continuously expanding urbanism towards the outskirts produces holes on the city's centre fabric where phenomena of abandonment and negligence appear. Activating urban voids will transform the amorphous and ambiguous landscape into a renewed condition of urban composition. The aim is to produce a diverse and coherent urban landscape based on the micro-events of history and architectural encounters that the city can generate. 

Programming
From this perspective, the project targets in generating a system which will redefine the urban environment on both micro and macro scale. Micro-scale interventions on the intersections of streets, will allow for the re-utilisation of left-over spaces, old buildings that are abandoned, empty lots, abandoned car-parks and unused spaces. Infusing those spaces with renewed program – squares, rest areas, agricultural plots, open-air theatres, swimming pools and other sites of recreational activities – new forms of territorial cohesion emerge.

 

Team: Aleksandra Kiszkielis, Alexander Geroussis, João Prates Ruivo, Raquel Maria Oliveira, Vasilis Oikonomopoulos. Client: EAXA - Unification of the Archaeological Sites of Athens.