Fields of Diversity: Urban Proposal in Pilea
Thessaloniki, Greece (with Michael Cosmas)
In the second half of the 20th century, Thessaloniki – like other Greek cities – witnessed an exacerbated urbanization which was formulated predominantly at the scale of the building-plot through the variable repetition of the polykatoikia (apartment building) typology. This process of effectively private urbanization, primarily emanating from small-scale speculative land development, has proven largely indifferent to the generation of public open spaces.
The network of formal and informal open spaces that registers in the area was identified, by the authors, as an important entity in the local urban system. Despite its lack of quality, diversity and metropolitan appeal, the latter sustains a rich spectrum of neighbourhood-scale activities. The project attempts to connect to and enhance this system, through the creation of a series of open-green spaces, which present diverse characters, programs and scales. It proposes to interlace the metropolitan with the local scale, through an ambitious plan, where the metropolitan fosters and is fostered by the local.
Presenting a series of juxtaposing and supple tactics, which focus on interrelations and conditions rather than fixed formal and aesthetic results, the project proposes a new urbanity for Pilea that shifts from ‘living next to a park’ to ‘living into a park’. Open public spaces attain a protagonistic role in this plural strategy, while typological investigations allow public and private projects alike to connect and contribute in this open and fragmentary process.
The proposal aims to institutionalise the conditions under which a new urban ecology would emerge, which will generate a continuous yet heterogeneous field that is active, emerging and evolving, latent with possibilities.