In the project “e_co_llectiva” 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).
The project “e_co_llectiva” consists one out of the five equal prizes in a recent ideas competition for young architects (up to 40 years old) 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.
The site of e_co_llectiva” is located in the broader area of the city center of Athens, in a transition zone between degraded residential zones and urban green ones such as the Archaeological museum and the Pedion Areos Park. The four blocks selected belong to a residential zone with general absence of ground level uses especially in the interior streets with exceptions a few local commerce units, a school, a theater and a hotel. The residents are mostly elderly people and families of immigrants. Most of the buildings are old – 8storey blocks of densely built flats, whereas the few buildings that distinguish because of their special architectural interest (neoclassical and modernist) are either in misuse or abandoned. The urban environment is completely degraded due to air pollution and rubbish and the integral lack of bioclimatic design because of the hardscape materials and the scarcity of urban green and trees, resulting in the intolerable microclimate during the summer.
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.
In the project the hardscapes 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 (organised 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.
“e_co_llectiva” / Urban design/landscape architecture project
1st Prize (one out of the Five Equal Prizes) in the National – Pan-Hellenic Architectural Competition “Athens x4”
The urban design/landscape project of Greece “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 (IV SALON PEJZAŽNE ARHITEKTURE 2011).
LOCATION: Athens, Center, Greece
Athanasios Polyzoidis, Landscape Architect – MLA ETSAB/UPC, Architect – NTUA
Katerina Petsiou, Architect – AUTH, MSC Art – Architecture and Ephemeral Spaces ETSAB/UPC
PRIZES: 1st Prize (one out of the Five Equal Prizes) in the National – Pan-Hellenic Architectural
Competition “Athens x4”
1st Prize (GRAND PRIX) in the 4th Landscape Architecture Exhibition (Belgrade, 2011)
IMAGES AND TEXT CREDIT: Athanasios Polyzoidis – Katerina Petsiou)