Project (block 1) - Objectives of the Project*
Our thesis concerns an intervention in the center of Ioannina. Ioannina is placed in the northwestern part of Greece. Extending along the shore of lake Pamvotida, at an altitude of 480 m, Ioannina is the capital of the department of Epirus. The recent construction of the Egnatia Road, connected the city with the rest northeastern part of Greece. Ioannina is a city in which major modernization projects have not yet been realized; it therefore still maintains the features of its special identity.
Most of the fragmentary study projects that have been done, do not take under consideration the unique character of the city, do not interact with the environment (built or natural) and as a result remain vapid and ineffective. The study of the urban history of the city is definitely a way to obtain a proper background for the subsequent process of designing. Also if we look carefully at the current image of the center, we can immediately distinguish the problems.
The center of Ioannina gathers mostly administrative uses with some very interesting buildings such as the archeological museum of the modern architect Aris Konstantinidis, and ottoman buildings made of local stone. Concerning the free spaces in the area, urban voids have been converted into green traffic islands, without consisting an indecomposable network of public spaces. These unorganized voids are not perceivable as free public and sustainable spaces. Also, they cannot be easily crossed but are just passed over due to the high elevation of the area and the visuals obstacles which obstructs pedestrians and cyclists. In addition, the improvident use of the car contributes to the non-use of these spaces, pushing aside other means of transport friendly to the environment. As a consequence the everyday life of citizens is degraded, obtaining the qualitative characteristics of a life in a big city.
(block 2) : Progress, Methodologies and tools used
for the Project*
By identifying the problems, we can set the basic principles of the intervention:
• Car blockage from the central zone
• Bicycle and pedestrians’ reinforcement
• Tram line
• Juncture of the green spaces
• Connection with the lakeside zone
• Attribution of quality features to areas that have been neglected ( such as parking area and open-air market)
• Reinforcement and prominence of the current cultural uses (cultural center, odeum and archeological museum).
The introduction of the tram line is proposed by the Master Plan, which was recently completed, in the context of the overall effort to strengthen public transport. Furthermore, the promotion of friendly to the environment means of transport will contribute to the proper functioning of traffic and will reduce the air pollution.
After setting the basic principles, the designing process was based on the method of urban acupuncture. By focusing on certain “pressure points” in urban areas, a city can dramatically increase its quality of life. The central zone can be naturally considered as a “pressure point” which affects the whole city. Inside this zone, exist other important “sub-points” such as the Litharitsia park and the cultural center, the central square and the area of the open air market; by “needling” these points, one can affect the whole area.
Regarding the designing tools, one of the special features of the town is the geographical relief. The traces of the hypsometric curves (as depicted on the map of 1933) on an aerial photograph of the present time condition shows that the development of the roads does not take under consideration the natural ground formation and does not expand towards the natural curves. An intervention that will follow the natural curves of the ground and respects the relief will perfectly adapt to the environment.
(block 3) - Results *
Our intention is the realization of an urban park that will be subsumed into the daily life of the citizens, will enclose their multiple routes, and will conjugate the extracted green islands into a living space of wandering and recreation connecting the center with the lakeside.
New public uses such as playgrounds, squares, small amphitheater, (next to the odeum), open air- market highlight the already existing uses. The mixture of various uses will constitute a space lively and safe as well, that will contribute to the sustainability of the city. The car blockage from the area and the construction of a bike path network will encourage the use of the bicycle and will facilitate hiking. Public means of transportation will be enforced by the accession of the tramline.
The already existing architectural elements, such as retaining walls, buttresses and the natural curves of the ground are being redefined and consist part of the solution. Mild interventions and the use of natural materials will compose a variety of different ambiences through an integrated public space.
In particular, some of the proposed materials (stone, wood) are used for centuries in the local architecture, and the rest are all natural (pebbles, packed earth) without adversely affecting the microclimate of the area, but improving it.
The planting of the area is also a very important feature of our project. We tried not only to maintain the number of the existing trees, but also to plant more deciduous and evergreen so that the center of Ioannina will form a background for the change of seasons.