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diploma thesis



A R C H I T E C T R U R A L   P L A N S

Rendered Views of the Project.


PROJECT STUDY : 2001 - diploma thesis NTUA

Urban Redevelopment in Rethimno, 2001 - V I D E O .




Rethymno city evolved in the area of a short peninsula at the Northern Crete coastline. On the north part of the peninsula, almost in the sea, there is a rocky hill with a fortress on top named "Fortetza". The rest land of the peninsula is occupied by the Rethimno Old Town, and the modern Rethimno City lies outside of the peninsula, on the main land of Crete island. Between Old Town Center on the peninsula and the modern city, the scientist can find signs of the demolished Old Town's walls at the Urban tissue or the road structure.

Old Town growth took place in the eastern direction, leaving almost empty the western side of the peninsula, from the Middle Ages up to modern times. This empty area remains disorganized, consists of disparate uses (State Office's of Rethimno's Prefecture, Football Stage, Courts, Military Buildings, Gym Building, Cemetery, several open parking spaces, Bus Service parking lot etc), with almost no housing at all whereas East Old Town is a historically well organized urban center with housing use and other compatible uses. Also, In addition, the rough coastline and the heavy traffic road is a constant blockage to sea access, in contrary to the smooth Eastern sandy beach, with low speed traffic roads.


The aim of the project, as described in diploma thesis presented in June 2001, is to re-develop the whore area of west peninsula, to balance different land uses, to find lost public space, to complete the structure of urban tissue, to rearrange the traffic and the pedestrian ways and roads, in order to connect the Old Town center with the Sea front at the west.


The project seeks to enrich land use by removing uses that are incompatible to the identity of Old Town (bus service parking lot, football stadium, military), by adding uses of smaller scale such as : smaller football stadium, underground parking spaces, artistic workshops, neighborhood facilities and shops, student classes and others that comply to the general historic and aesthetic spirit of Old Town. Student's homes are also added, that intend to add a more dynamic and youthful perspective to this part of the Town. They were preferred to family homes because there is actual need for University student's residence areas in the greater Rethimno City, and family homes require more additional facilities (such as parking spaces, Schools and Kindergartens, Market areas work areas) that may not fit in the remaining open space of the peninsula.


The underground parking facilities eliminate the parking lots on streets, and the re-organizing of the pedestrian ways provided the opportunity to make vegetation areas of the project as large as possible. This is a energy efficient and environmental friendly measure and combined with other bioclimatic measures (sunshades, tents, pavilions, pergolas etc) on the facades of the new buildings or on the existing ones that have been renovated, helps to deal with the western orientation of the project area.



Project's final goal is to create a smooth transition between East Old Town and the West Sea Front by adding useful facilities in the space within, in order to comply with city's cast of features, history and tradition in a way that is compatible with local Cretan way of thinking and living. Those facilities should also resolve existing modern civic problems and respect the natural environment and the Sea nearby, and may create job opportunities and interesting activities of social, educational or cultural kind, for the benefit of Rethimno City as a whole. 





lecture NTUA : 2001, Presentation in scientific congress in Rethimno : 2001



Rethimno's histrorical, social, economical, and civic changes through the years from ancient times up to modern Age are significant compared to the city size. It has been occupied by Greeks and conquered by Venetian, Turks, it have been a merchant station for goods' transport for centuries and a lot of historic influences have been inprinted on the Rethimno civic features (monuments, buildings, roads, urban tissue, etc.) and on the perception and beliefs of the city's population.

Nowadays, new features are being added to the city's identity that came from recent economic development : tourism, transportation, agriculture, public services, State's intervention etc. The city's growth along the Eastern Coastline shows the dynamics that control it's internal mechanisms, which should be interpreted in order to form a model of economic and civic growth that is compatible with the Values of the Historic Old Town Center and city's monuments. At the same time it is necessary to comply to scientific economic standards so as to sustain the city's prosperity, for the benefit of the local inhabitants who are characterized by their specific local way of thinking. The latter consists of a set of beliefs that allowed the city to survive through difficult times and to evolve to the modern city of Rethimno, but, the same set, endangers the city prospects because it may operate the city natural resources to the limit, for profit benefit purposes only. As in many cases, nowadays there is a continuous effort to balance between opposite ecomonic interests and the resource capacity that city can provide to satisfy those interests. The above procedure has consequences on the built environment (city expansion, transformation, remodelling of underdeveloped areas, urban facilities) and on the civic experience for the population of Rethimno City.


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