Center of Memory and Culture
Homage To Earth
in collaboration with:
“I'm looking for a path out of the emptiness but all I see is the great wide earth in various formations.”
David Wojnarowicz, 7 Miles a Second
The Lycabettus plateau is the gazing point of Athens. It is located right in the center of the city, but at the same time it is a distant place. This dual condition translates the urban loneliness.
The asphalt-covered plateau is part of the collective memory of the city, expressed even in the most insignificant details like the traces of car tires. It is an open platform embraced by the rock formations of its landscape. The vast surface of asphalt spreads through the rocky peaks. The main spatial quality of the place derives from this condition of emptiness.
The intention of the design is to incorporate this emptiness as an element of reminiscence and to create a place of reflection. The new public space floats between the hill forest and an organized route, a system of transitions that unlocks all the possible connections. The landscape is in constant reference to the city through a pathway that expands the view.
The design vehicle to realize this idea is to keep the existing asphalt as the main material. Parts of this material are removed and from the piles of broken asphalt new islets are created, which are then planted with variants of the local flora of the hill, showcasing its biodiversity. The landscape of the central square thus becomes a “mosaic” of its own and a micro scale of Lycabettus.
The hill stands as a symbol of the city and at the same time it is a park and recreational space for the locals. The main motive to climb the hill though is undoubtedly the ability to have a general view of the city of Athens. Central gesture of the proposal is to strengthen this condition through the “view route”. This organized path functions as an apparatus that expands the view. It is placed on the landscape, taking different forms, elongating the outer edges and revealing more aspects and viewpoints. The route initiates from the main square, runs throughout the public space, soars above the slope, climbs on the rocks and returns to the square, folding into a continuous loop.
The proposal is based on three distinct but intersecting design strategies for the hill:
a. The hill as a landmark.
b. The hill as a gaze to the city.
c. The hill as an event space.
The first refers to the landscape redesign of the hill itself towards a more lasting and sustainable model. One of the most pivotal issues is the strategy for the accesses. The master plan for the hill promotes supra-local activities with big crowds but at the same time suggests the fundamental removal of cars. Solutions like the connection of the metro system with the hill through cable cars should be uncontested. The architectural expressions of such technological interventions showcase the brand of Lycabettus as a unique feature of the city, both in cultural and touristic terms.
The second is about those actions that would strengthen the function of the hill as an “observatory”. This is an approach to transform the space into a multifaceted, expressive and dynamic viewing point that will underline its identity as a place of reflection above the city, a spotlight and a mirror at the same time of the contemporary Athenian life.
The third refers to the affirmation of the hill as a field rich with activities. This could be materialized through permanent presentations like the in situ museum of Lycabettus hill or by exploiting its potential as event space like open-air market or cultural actions.
The scope of the proposal is to understand and underline the history of the hill and to redesign its landscape and architectural manifestation. The suggested approach is simultaneously break and continuity; break, as distinct contemporary intervention that follows and expresses the zeitgeist of landscape design and architecture; and continuity, as a gesture that embraces and highlights the multiple identities of the Lycabettus hill thought time.
Intervention Area Plan
Multiple Uses Diagram
The "Emptiness" - Comparative Analysis
-Brandenburger Tor, GER
-Sienna Plaza, ITA
-Washngton Square Park, USA
-Syntagma Square, GRE
-Panepistimio Trilogy, GRE
-Omonoia Square, GRE
The "View Route"
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