New business and commercial district

Thessaloniki, Greece

Client: Competition
Status: Competition

The challenge for us was to preserve the beauty and harmony of the existing industrial buildings while integrating them in a park with 400,000 sq.m of additional space. Our approach came from observing the geography of the plot: with the Porto Palace Hotel acting as a separation between East and West, it appeared natural to dedicate the smaller western area to residential buildings, while making the larger eastern plot into a busy, lively commercial park.

In order to preserve the harmony of the industrial buildings, it seemed imperative to concentrate the highest, most vertical constructions at both ends of the plot, so as to allow the area in between to be horizontal, uncluttered, more in line with the existing buildings, and to create a green industrial park provided with attractive shadowed pathways and bicycle lanes.

Office Tower 1’s southern façade is clad with around 1,500 sq.m of photovoltaic panels, generating enough power to illuminate all common areas and more.
The sloped roof of the commercial center allows for rain water collection that will be used for park watering.
Suspended gardens and planted balconies provide a shadowed envelope to the residential towers.

Inspired by the New York High Line, a 750 m long suspended promenade winds between the factory buildings, providing pedestrians with different perceptions and perspectives of the industrial architecture, both at ground floor level and 6m high level - not unlike an open-air museum.

At the southern edge of the park is the shopping center / department store, whose sloped roof, planted with grass and trees, creates an artificial hill. The hill is planted with native trees and protected from human intervention creating a local biodiversity. The slope aims to break the building mass and helps maintain harmony and scale ratio with the adjacent buildings. The park as well as the borders of the suspended walkway can be planted with various native plants: olive trees, cypress trees, fruit trees and vegetables, allowing for urban farming or community harvesting.

The shopping center and department store will offer a wide range of commercial activities, retail, banks, restaurants and cafés as well as art galleries and exhibition spaces. It will be directly accessible from the main street and from the basements through vertical connections.