The Elevated Promenade | Entry in ALUMIL’s international architectural ideas competition ArXellence 2 by P. Malefakis, I. Symeonidou, E. Pilatou & Th. Sakellariadi

ArXellence 2, ALUMIL’s international architectural ideas competition, was successfully completed. The open call to the global architectural community concerned the redevelopment of the western coastal side of Thessaloniki through a new Central Business District (CBD) that would redefine a misused area of the city.

The proposal of Panayotis Malefakis, Ioanna Symeonidou, Elena Pilatou & Theodora Sakellariadi aims to create a new landmark and a community space with a strong visual identity defined by the High-rise buildings, the Elevated Promenade and the Cubic Cloud.

-text by the authors

The city of Thessaloniki is characterized by its close relationship to the sea. The waterfront is of crucial importance to the city, as it facilitates social life, commercial activity and transportation. The Old Promenade “Παλαιά Παραλία” together with the White Tower is among the characteristic landmarks and images of the city, it runs along the city center and is associated to history, commerce and leisure. During the last decade, the New Promenade “Νέα Παραλία” has enhanced the relation of the city to the sea, as it has become an important hub for sports, cycling and jogging, cultural events and exhibitions.

Among the design goals for Arxcellence design proposal is to enhance the relationship to the sea, and conceptually connect to the old and new promenade.

The design proposal consists of 7 high-rise buildings with mixed use (business, housing and hotel facilities), that are strategically located within the site in order to connect to the axes of the city fabric and establish an architectural dialogue with buildings of architectural heritage. Although the site is in great proximity to the waterfront, there is no visual connection to the sea from the street level, therefore the proposal introduces the Elevated Promenade, a linear element which runs along the entire site, 25 meters above the ground and connects all 7 high-rise buildings offering unobstructed views to the sea and the city.

The Cubic Cloud, a spaceframe of thin rectangular profile aluminum elements that blurs the boundaries among the buildings, the elevated promenade and the ground, facilitates the shading and creates a unique atmosphere of a transparent, almost immaterial space that does not obstruct the views to the sea and the city. The spaces near the promenade host commercial and leisure activities. The ground level will host a MAKER space with Fabrication Laboratory (Fab Lab) equipped with 3D printers, laser cutters and CNC machinery for use by the local community and the city. The MAKER space will extend to the exterior to host technology related activities and encourage circular economy, as it will facilitate the recycling and reuse of material, the manufacturing at local level.

The landscape design is of crucial importance, as a variety of activities are to be hosted in the open-air or in sheltered outdoor areas.

The outdoor spaces host three categories of activities, related to art & culture, sports and technology, which occupy the east, central, and western area of the site respectively. The linear park is complemented by outdoor gym, urban furniture, skate park and spaces for temporary exhibitions. All outdoor spaces have the provision for power supply for kiosks, as well as charging stations. All spaces are accessible to bicycles and wheelchairs, the design and the materials for its implementation address all three pillars of sustainability: environment, society, economy. 

Facts & Credits
Project title  The Elevated Promenade
Typology  International Architectural Ideas Competition ArXellence 2
Location  Thessaloniki, Greece
Surface  350.000 m²
Year  2020
Client  ALUMIL
Competition endorsed by  UIA
Design Team  Panayotis Malefakis, Ioanna Symeonidou, Elena Pilatou, Theodora Sakellariadi 
Students of Architecture  Christina Evangelopoulou, Melina-Andriani Kalama

Register for the Online Awards Ceremony of ALUMIL’s International Architectural Ideas Competition ArXellence 2 and learn more about the competition and the winning proposals, here