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An Architectural Challenge: White Tower Square in Thessaloniki, Greece | Congress for the New Urbanism

An Architectural Challenge: White Tower Square in Thessaloniki, Greece

The following post comes courtesy of Global Site Plans' The Grid. CNU and Global Site Plans recently teamed up to syndicate Grid content, as its contingent of writers presents a view on the opportunities and issues of urbanization all across the world. CNU will carry select posts from the Grid direct on the CNU Salons.

***

 

White Tower Square , Thessaloniki, Greece

When one thinks of Thessaloniki, Greece, often the first thing that comes in mind is the White Tower, a monument that was  built around 1450 and today has become the city’s landmark. This is why the regeneration of the White Tower’s square is considered as one of the most important projects that the city can realize.

The project of the New White Tower’s Square was undertaken by the architects K. Tsigarida, A. SkouvaklisN. Kalogirou (1996-1997) and by thearchitecture firm Katerina Tsigarida Architects (2003-2008).

The fundamental concept of the proposal was to create a place that :

  • Respects and highlights the White Tower monument;
  • Has a long-lasting effect in the city;
  • Has a strictly planned geometry;
  • And mixes ancient with modern design.
  •  

    White Tower Square, Thessaloniki, Greece

    White Tower’s Square is essentially a trapezoid-shaped space that opens toward the sea. The square is surrounded by green plots, and different zones of sittingareas. One of the problems that the architects had to face was the level height differences of the ground. However, this problem eventually became a benefit, as it helped to create some more isolated and quieter sub-areas of the square. The most distinctive element of the project is the series of pillars of limestone that are on the west side of the square. At night, with the help of lighting that was installed with great care, the pillars look like beautiful sculptures.

    The trapezoid square -White Tower, Thessaloniki, GreeceToday, the opinions about White Tower’s Square are conflicting. Personally, I feel that the project is very successful. Every time I walk by, I see people sitting and enjoying the sunset, or meeting with their friends. After all, what the architect K. Tsigarida wanted was to “create a place that provides a feeling of absolute harmony. That makes you feel that you don’t want to leave. So, if this is not a success… then what is it?

    Is there a better way to highlight a monument? Are there examples of this in your city?

    To read the original post, written by Dafni Dimitriadi, visit Global Site Plans.

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