Hellenic Army Academy Square / under construction
The Hellenic Army Academy campus in Vari, Attica, was built based on Constantinos A. Doxiadis (Doxiadis Associates) studies almost 50 years ago. In 2021 there was a need of redesigning and upgrading one of the main free spaces to a square that will serve the contemporary needs and habits of the cadets.
It has a very successful, strict and rational design structure that is still thoroughly functional, mainly consisting of buildings, free spaces and a strong network of covered passageways in between, binding all together in one entity.
While studying on Doxiadis’s design concept through his initial diagrams, designs and texts, it was clear that the built elements of the campus where very strictly designed while the free spaces in between where left in a more natural arrangement creating a dramatic contrast between the built and natural environment.
Until 2022, the so called Square of the Constitution was a free space of 3000sqm situated at the core of the educational buildings, thoroughly defined by covered passageways as most of the free spaces are. Although it was used as one of the very few breakout spaces for the cadets to socialize, its layout and facilities did not support that enough. The lack of sitting and shading was not offering the right conditions.
The dialogue with C.A. Doxiadis’s work and the adaptation of the common space on the special characteristics of its use at an army academy (strict program, constant running etc.) in contrast of a public space, were the two principal design challenges.
The design principles defined as the following:
Highlight the covered passageways that define the square and organize the daily work flow of the cadets.
Generate a new, strict and symmetrical spatial arrangement in order to transform the space from a natural free space to an orchestrated square of common use and specific purpose.
The access of the square is made only from the corners/nodes of the passageways.
The gathered positioning of the main sitting areas at the center of the space create a distance from the boarders, creating the necessary isolation and distance from the strict routine of the Academy.
The necessary shading of the main sitting zones follows the strict layout of the square passageways creating symmetrical flows that generate a new discourse between the new square, the existing covered passageway network and the natural free spaces.
Half a century from the initial design, the means of communication have dramatically changed. The demand of breakout spaces that fulfil the contemporary need of communications/socializing etc. is a necessity. This is what the contemporary Constitution Square at the Hellenic Army Academy is appealed to confront, the adjustment of the questioning new to the monumental old under the terms of timelessness and honor.
Alexandros Avlonitis, Aggeliki Anagnostopoulou, Giorgos Tzavaras, Danai Papaevangelou, Kostas Karvouniaris