re-generation of the former cemetery of nikaia
Status: Architectural Competition/ 3rd PRIZE / Municipality of Nikaia-Rentis
Program: Public park
Location: Nikaia, Greece
Architect: Leonidas Papalampropoulos, Georgia Syriopoulou
The wide impact range of the field of the former Municipal Cemetery of Nikaia directed the design towards a strategy based on the function of the event in the public space. The proposal’s main objective was the creation of a new typology capable to host non-predicted and spontaneous events by the citizens themselves, thus turning the intervention site from a regional park into an active public space for the wider area of Nikaia.
G. Nolli (1701-1756) formulated a new way of perceiving the city’s structure through the analogy of mass and void, public and private, thus introducing a strategy of exploiting empty space in urban design. The city’s representation as an extensive mass which is carved out to create interior spaces is paralleled to the analogy of black and white on the map, where the white undesigned area is the field of possible events of public life.
The proposal attempts to re-formulate Nolli’s design principle by “misinterpreting” the black and white, public-private relation, through the vegetation’s quality to shape discrete spatial identities of mass and void. In our case, the core of the park is formed as an empty space of possible events which is defined by the dense surrounding planting of the park.
The existing vegetation is enriched, creating a forest around the main field, while a clearing-square is created along the site: the central public space of the design.
The urban fabric is extended inside the park by creating “portals” and “green” corridors that compose a spatial sequence in which the buildings’ mass has been replaced by dense vegetation (the forest) that defines the public circulation and provides a gradual transition between the city of Nikaia and the park.
The main square highlights the axis of the former cemetery and provides space for both permanent and temporary functions:
The church, the café and the cinema-theatre “Éclair” with the bi-lateral stage are the permanent ones.
The temporary functions can be concerts, sports events, open air parties, theme parks, festivals, open markets etc.
The “green mass” surrounding the clearing hosts an artificial lake, open air rest points, a basketball court, a playground and an open air gym, a mountain bike, a park for domesticated animals, a memorial and museum of immigration and a recycling point.