National Architectural Competition for the redesign and re-use of the West Arsenal in Heraklion, Crete, Greece.
The central intention of the proposal is the design of a continuous, dynamic field that can absorb a series of different programmes and qualities. This field responds to the question of recording and highlighting the history and monumental character of the Arsenals, but also to the demand for an open, multi-functional, flexible public space for the city of Heraklion. Key decision is that this coexistence should occur dynamically under one single gesture. All these qualities – historic, monumental, transient, and contemporary – become part of a unifying, constructed “landscape” which, with a series of devices, stage the production of social life.
The proposal installs an infrastructure with a given geometry, direction, and dimensions, that organises the whole intervention. This gridded level is complemented with a series of devices that describe the main programmes of the park: “sign” and “narration” delineate the history and memories of past and present events, while “concentration” defines the points of collective activities. These devices are scattered throughout the site, they communicate and describe the existing buildings and contain the new functions of the site.
Finally, the design includes moments of “cancellation” of the field. These are of exceptional importance for the proposal; the curved forms of special geometry and materials indicate areas of play, recreation and pause. They thus function as metaphors for the city itself, where these activities dissolve any infrastructural rule.