ATHENS. 2004
First Prize Winner

Client: Greek Ministry of Environment and Organization for the Planning and Environmental Protection of Athens (ORSA)
Site: International airport of Athens, Greece
Size: 530 hectares
Cost: € 700 million

Design Team : David Serero, team leader and Elena Fernandez, architects + OLM, Philippe Coignet, landscape architect + Erwin Redl, artist with Ryosuke Shimoda, Go Sugimoto, Takuma Kahehi, Dominik Sigg, Yves Ubelmann


On the traces of natural irrigation patterns the Soft capes, which link the city and the park, combine soft programming and water management strategy. In days of high precipitations, the water flow is channeled, delayed and temporarily stored along those lines. A series of retaining walls, embankments and terraces, which are assembled continuously in response to local contiguity of these spines, generate the surfaces of the Softscapes.
Instead of projecting an artificial landscape on the site, this system uses existing conditions and establishes the root of a natural ecosystem, which channeled and distributes natural resources to the park vegetation and reduces the park’s maintenance.

The runways of the airport and their huge scale have been conceived as “objets trouvés” to define the main visual and circulation axis of the park, with an ambition equal to the one of the “great perspective” of Le Nôtre. The large concrete decks are preserved and create internal pedestrian boulevards. The lawns between the former runways are reinvestigated as a series of new “platforms” for lounging, playing, contemplating.

Edges / Maximize Frontage
By maximizing the city frontage to the park, we increase the interaction between park and the new buildings and therefore we increase the real estate value of those buildings. Like the edge of a river in a delta, which draws between ground and water a border of infinite length, the progressive corrugation of the urban edge stretches the surface of contact between the urban and the natural. A set of macro and micro corrugations of the park’s edge triggers inversion between park and city.

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