International Architectural Competition for the redesign of the monumental Axis of Agia Sophia-Acheiropoietos, Thessaloniki, Greece. Organised by the Ministry of the Environment, Energy and Climate Change, Greece.
The competition site, the monumental Agias Sofias axis, is an exemplary fragment of the broader project of Thessaloniki’s central area designed by Ernest Hébrard in the late 1910s. Our proposal transforms this monumental axis into an open territory for public performance and collective reference for the city. Our objective is to introduce an alternative narrative for the city’s historical traces in which monuments from distinct historical periods and subjects can dynamically coexist in a new form of urban space. Common symbols and elements of diverse traditions and practices that have shaped the city’s violent past are brought together and accentuated to form new imperatives for the present. The scheme inserts three distinct meadows that respectively engulf the three monumental churches linked by the axis; a meadow of wildflowers surrounds the Metropolis, a field of wheat encircles the Aghia Sophia church, while vegetable and communal gardens organise the sunken yard of Acheiropoietos church. Architectural pavilions, street furniture, and public equipment repurpose fragments and elements from the city’s industrial shipyards i.e. crates, crane machines, and vessels.