Eleftheria Square

Eleftheria Square

Architecte
Zaha Hadid Architects
Lieu
Venetian Walls of Nicosia, Solonos, Nicosia, Cyprus | View Map
Année du projet
2021
Catégorie
Parcs/jardins
Laurian Ghinitoiu

Eleftheria Square

Zaha Hadid Architects en tant que Architectes.

Eleftheria Square in Nicosia has been inaugurated by Nicos Anastasiade, President of the Republic of Cyprus, and Constantinos Yiorkadjis, Mayor of Nicosia. Stella Kyriakides, EU Commissioner, also attended the ceremony.

photo_credit Laurian Ghinitoiu
Laurian Ghinitoiu

Establishing Eleftheria Square as the city’s primary gathering space, Zaha Hadid Architects’ (ZHA) design creates new connections intended to unite a divided capital. Nicosia’s massive Venetian fortifications separate the old city from its modern districts, while the city’s ‘Green Line’ divides the capital into two disparate communities.

photo_credit Laurian Ghinitoiu
Laurian Ghinitoiu

Located near the centre of Nicosia, Eleftheria Square is adjacent to the Venetian Walls and the dry moat that encircles the city. Constructed in the Middle Ages and extensively rebuilt by the Venetians in the 16th century, these substantial defensive walls define the boundary of the oldest part of the capital, dividing the ancient city from the new districts outside the walls.

photo_credit Laurian Ghinitoiu
Laurian Ghinitoiu

ZHA envisioned Eleftheira Square as the initial phase of a much larger urban plan that could be a catalyst for the reunification of the capital. The design ensures unobstructed views of the Venetian Walls, establishing these fortifications as an integral part of Nicosia’s identity, while also opening the dry moat for public use to create an orbital park that surrounds the city.

photo_credit Laurian Ghinitoiu
Laurian Ghinitoiu

Transforming previously inaccessible areas of the moat with new civic plazas, gardens and palm-lined promenades, the moat can become a ‘green belt’ around the city. ZHA’s design proposes these new public spaces within the moat are extended to follow the ancient city walls and encircle Nicosia, reconnecting communities of this divided capital.

photo_credit Laurian Ghinitoiu
Laurian Ghinitoiu

The Eleftheria Square design elevates the topography of the moat to create an upper level bridge that meets the surrounding streetscape, establishing direct connections with the city’s urban fabric and defining a new public square in the heart of the capital.

photo_credit K-Arkatites
K-Arkatites

Transformed into an urban park, the moat’s fluid geometries have been created through the process of triangulating the irregular forms of the ancient fortifications to establish points of ‘intensity’ that define seating, flowerbeds or water features within the new park.

photo_credit Laurian Ghinitoiu
Laurian Ghinitoiu

The moat’s granite paving conveys a timeless solidity, while open joints between the granite slabs create a passive rainwater drainage system that allows the new trees planted within the moat to naturally balance groundwater levels and reduce erosion of the medieval walls’ foundations.

photo_credit Laurian Ghinitoiu
Laurian Ghinitoiu

As the largest civic plaza in Nicosia, Eleftheira Square has been designed to host festivals and public events; its upper level bridge and supporting columns are crafted in concrete, their sculptural forms ensure structural integrity in this seismic region and the base of each column morphs into seating.

photo_credit Laurian Ghinitoiu
Laurian Ghinitoiu

The renovation of the square involved extensive archaeological excavations together with works to repair and protect the historic Venetian Walls. The redevelopment also includes two cafes within the square and the new underground parking lot with access ramp on Omirou Avenue. Stairs and elevators directly connect with the bus terminal in Solomos Square.

photo_credit Laurian Ghinitoiu
Laurian Ghinitoiu

ZHA’s transformation of Eleftheria Square weaves together Nicosia’s rich history with an unwavering optimism for the future. Bridging the Venetian Wall and moat, the square becomes an important gateway to the old city, its underground parking removing cars from the ancient city’s streets to enable further pedestrianisation that enhances the urban realm of this historic district while also creating new public gardens and plazas to be enjoyed by residents and visitors to the city.

photo_credit K-Arkatites
K-Arkatites

Concept Phase
In aspiring to create an urban plaza for the city of Nicosia, we found ourselves confronted with deep historical traditions and contradictions: the presence of massive Venetian fortifications, constructed to offer protection from invaders and effectively containing and separating ancient and modern cities; the ‘green line’ which divides two communities in this, the last divided capital of Europe.

Our concept constitutes an ‘architectural intervention’ – the creation of an urban plaza which forms the spearhead of a much broader and ambitious urban planning gesture. One that aspires to organize and synthesize the entire urban wall, surrounding moat and modern city fringes beyond within a unified whole.

photo_credit K-Arkatites
K-Arkatites

In achieving this grand vision, the moat becomes a green belt – a ‘necklace’ which surrounds the Venetian fortifications, transformed into Nicosia’s main park – a focal point for rest and recreation, a venue for art exhibitions and installations containing both sculpture gardens and sports facilities.

Elevated and widened to increase circulation, the moat is accessed by bridging streets – new gateways to the inner city, free of traffic thanks to the use of subterranean car parks. The Venetian wall, restored to its former glory, flanked by palm-lined walkways and lit continuously by night, declares its presence and relevance to this new, unified Nicosia.

photo_credit Laurian Ghinitoiu
Laurian Ghinitoiu
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