Public Space Design before Collapse, Patras’ Holy Trinity Hill

By Katerina Zisimopoulou and Alexis Fragkiadakis.

Published by The International Journal of the Constructed Environment

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

The Holy Trinity Hill area public space design project in Patras harbor-city, Greece was studied in years 2001-3 and was finally partly constructed in 2006, just on time, according to the geologic studies, before the whole hill or some significant part of it collapsed with devastating consequences.
The modern city is currently located under and over the hill, united with three grand linear urban staircase landmarks constructed in the late 19th century mid 20th century. The Holy Trinity Hill project emerged from the need to support the hill and the small scale housing on it but also creates an alternative route to the grandiose St Nicholas staircase, thus providing new urban views and experiences to the pedestrian. The Holy Trinity Hill route emerged from a geologic hazard and evolves discreetly between sizable concrete support walls and over considerable technical underground foundation works.
The non-linear snakelike route composed of stairs and ramps provides a humble supporting alternative to the impressive dominant St Nicholas staircase now in derelict state. However the servant seems to try to overpower the king. This bipolar connecting condition of the Lower and Upper city, staircase and route, is characterized by different and contradictory space quality experiences. The comparison between them reveals interesting and unexpected dynamic flows and paths through the spaces created and the exciting in-between.
The project involves a current community study which explores the impact of the new route on the local communities. What are the views of the people who interact with the space (local organizations, environmental groups, school students, church)? What is the urban spatial potential created between the staircase and the route? How does the city hall plan to manage this dynamic situation?

Keywords: Public Space, In-between, Flow, Interaction, Geology

The International Journal of the Constructed Environment, Volume 1, Issue 2, pp.175-186. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 2.229MB).

Katerina Zisimopoulou

Architect, Doctorate Candidate, Architecture School, National Technical University of Athens, Athens, Greece

Katerina Zisimopoulou is a practicing architect who graduated in 2001 from the School of Architecture, National Technical University of Athens as a scholar of the Zosima Brothers Endowment. She then completed her Master in Architecture at the School of Architecture and Urban Design of the University of California, Los Angeles as a Fulbright 2002-2003 scholar and received a Master of Arts degree from the School of Architecture, National Technical University of Athens in “Design-Space-Culture” in 2007. She is a PhD candidate at the School of Architecture, National Technical University of Athens in the Technology Sector. She has worked as an assistant tutor in the area of Architectural Compositions in the same university but also as a producer for the television channel at the University of California, Los Angeles, as an architect designer on small and medium-scale housing projects, as a corporate architect in the largest Greek hotel construction project and as a civil servant in charge of property development for trust funds and foundations. She has participated in groups that excelled in national architectural competitions and has presented her research work at national and international conferences. Her research focuses on architectural technology and production (mass customization and rapid prototyping), architectural history of the 1930s, multimedia in architecture and specifically the applications of cinema and video in architectural representation.

Alexis Fragkiadakis

Architect NTUA, UCLA, National Technical University of Athens, Athens, Greece

Alexis Fragkiadakis is a practicing architect who graduated in 2001 from the School of Architecture, National Technical University of Athens as a scholar of the Ergazakion Foundation. He then completed his Master in Architecture at the School of Architecture and Urban Design of the University of California, Los Angeles as a NATO 2002-2003 scholar. He is currently working as an architect in Athens, Greece. He has worked as a corporate architect and as freelance architect on medium-scale housing projects and large-scale commercial buildings and complexes. He has participated in groups that distinguished in national architectural competitions and has presented his work at national and international conferences. His research focuses on architectural technology and production (mass customization and rapid prototyping), and multimedia in architecture–specifically the applications of cinema and video in architectural representation.