sauerbruch hutton, gustafson porter + bowman and elena stavropoulou have won the international architectural design competition for the thessaloniki ConfEx park. the winning proposal respects and highlights the historical axes of the greek city, featuring a series of circular canopies that resemble ‘islands’ floating between the trees and greenery of the newly-envisioned urban park. the team competed against proposals by heatherwick studio, kengo kuma and associates, sou fujimoto, and OMA among others, while the second prize was awarded to team of lina ghotmeh architecture, vogt paysage + urbanisme, LAN, LOT, tractebel engineering, and systematica, and the third prize to the team of UNstudio, schema4, and OKRA landschapsarchitecten. circular canopies 'float' between trees in thessaloniki's ConfEx park winning proposalimage by artefactorylab

 

 

the proposal by sauerbruch hutton, gustafson porter + bowman and elena stavropoulou was chosen unanimously as the winner of the international competition, after a three-day meeting by the members of the competition jury, who were in the city from 20 to 23 july for this purpose. the recently-unveiled thessaloniki ConfEx park will be an urban area of unique quality; a center for sport, business, art, history and politics that will welcome some of the largest events from abroad, as well being a place of individual hospitality for the city’s residents. all fifteen design proposals that passed in the design phase of the competition – from which the three mentioned above were selected – will be presented at the exhibition and conference center during the 85th TIF, when the three prizes will be awarded in a special ceremony.circular canopies 'float' between trees in thessaloniki's ConfEx park winning proposalimage by artefactorylab

 

 

located in the city center, TIF – HELEXPO is a contemporary landmark for thessaloniki – the second largest city in greece, after athens – due to its ideal central location and substantial size. the exhibition center is located within an area of approximately 175.000 sqm, consisting of a total built area of 96.000 sqm, with floor area ratio 0,58 (excluding the building area of the AAMTH). the existing lot coverage is 42%, while the open space between the facilities covers 50%, and the rest 8% of the site area is covered by parking lots.

 

the continuous evolution of TIF during 1950-1990, as well as the development of field exhibitions (after 1970) increased the need for a larger area of exhibition halls. from 1950 till the end of the 90s, this led to an enlargement of the exhibition’s fairgrounds along with the construction of new pavilions. some of the pavilions constructed during the 50s and 60s are considered important examples of modernist architecture, ‘but several reconstructions and additions made afterwards, resulted in the loss of their impressive architectural characteristics,’ notes the competition’s website. many important landmarks of the city’s contemporary urban fabric have emerged due to the gradual configuration of the thessaloniki exhibition center, including the 76-meter-tall OTE tower and the AAMTH (a circular, indoor sports arena designed in the 60s). continue scrolling to see designboom’s images of some of the site’s existing buildings.

 

 

circular canopies 'float' between trees in thessaloniki's ConfEx park winning proposalthe current state of the fairgrounds

image courtesy of HELEXPOcircular canopies 'float' between trees in winning proposal for thessaloniki's ConfEx parkthe AAMTH in the back

image courtesy of HELEXPOcircular canopies 'float' between trees in winning proposal for thessaloniki's ConfEx parkpavilion 8 / ‘nikolaos germanos’ convention center

image © designboom

circular canopies 'float' between trees in winning proposal for thessaloniki's ConfEx parkimage © designboom

thessaloniki ConfEx parkimage © designboom

thessaloniki ConfEx parkthe OTE tower

image © designboomthessaloniki ConfEx parkimage © designboom

 

 

project info:

 

 

name: thessaloniki ConfEx park 

winning competition team: sauerbruch hutton, gustafson porter + bowman and elena stavropoulou

location: thessaloniki, greece