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Re-think Athens · Athens, Greece

Revitalising the historic city centre of Athens

A comprehensive and innovative vision on the transformation of a global city


With one of the longest histories of any city in the world, Athens has faced numerous moments of reinvention and rebalancing. However, the last few decades of explosive growth have led to infrastructural problems and a socio-cultural imbalance, resulting in a decline of the city centre. The economic challenges have affected the quality of life and the environmental conditions, leaving Athens in need of revitalisation.

Athens, Greece
Project area
56 ha
Onassis Foundation
Mixst Urbanism, Universiteit Wageningen, Studio 75, Werner Sobek, Nama, LDK

‘One step beyond’

Transforming Athens into a modern metropolitan hub starts with the revitalisation of the historical city centre ‘triangle’. We won the international design competition ‘Re-think Athens’ with an ambitious plan called ‘One step beyond’. Our plan presented a holistic approach that takes innovative ideas on climate control, traffic flow reduction and public realm programming one step forward. The integrated design aims to create a resilient, accessible, and vibrant city centre.  The reduction of car traffic in this area is a major step towards the creation of a ‘walkable city’; newly gained space can now be transformed into a vibrant, green and accessible heart for Athens.

Creator of meaningful places

“By revitalising the heart of Athens, the project aims to create an urban vibrancy that embraces sustainability and enriches the city’s overall character.”

The accessible city
The green and resilient city
The vibrant city

The accessible city

The project carefully details and transforms Panepistimiou Street and its surroundings into a signature space, welcoming to all. Panepistimiou Street, one of the city’s main traffic arteries along the historic city ‘triangle’, is transformed from a busy car street into a green, pedestrian-oriented boulevard, with inviting places to stay and enjoy city life. This approach can be regarded as a Shared Space 2.0, a new balance between slow traffic and motorised movement.  Three public spaces along Panepistimiou Street are linked to the structure of the green boulevard to contribute to the creation of a green and pedestrian-friendly city centre: Omonia Square and Dikaiosynis Square will become two green urban squares, with prominent lush water elements. In the middle of Panepistimiou Street, a green ensemble ties the National University, the National Library and the National Academy together into an urban park.


The green and resilient city

The resilient city concept includes a greening strategy combined with a sustainable water management strategy to reduce urban heat and improve thermal comfort. Panepistimiou Street will become the central green spine of the larger-scale green network and will provide shade and shelter while capturing rainwater for sustainable re-use. This will result in a further heat mitigation of Athens’ public realm.


The vibrant city

The envisioned transformation of the city centre has a strong potential to contribute significantly to the overall change of Athens, enhancing the city’s quality of life and activating the area economically. By occupying multiple vacant buildings and re-purposing them with new functions, we introduce the concept of the theatre of 1000 rooms, where we set up a new cultural scene for the city. The ground floors of buildings will be transformed into active frontages, and interactive decorative lights will enhance the evening atmosphere. Small open-air podia will encourage outdoor initiatives related to Greek philosophy, science, drama, and art.

Creator of meaningful places

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