International Architecture Ideas Competition to Innovate the New Central Business District of Thessaloniki – Registrations Open until 25 May 2020

Architecture professionals are competing in the open and free competition ArXellence 2 to design innovative concept plans to regenerate a decaying urban area of Thessaloniki, Greece, and transform it into the city’s new Central Business District (CBD). The concept plans will show what this area could be like and how such a district could contribute to the city’s growth. The competition started on the 9 March 2020 and the registrations will be open until 25 May 2020. The due date for submissions is on 15 October 2020. 

Through local government initiatives and private sector participation, Thessaloniki’s west waterfront area, an underused urban zone today that weakens the city’s image, livability and productivity, is being used as the ideal spot that could host the new CBD to help move the city toward urban growth. The competition aims to exemplify how innovative design is the tool for success for urban settings, notably for new business centers such as the concept of the CBD of Thessaloniki.

The area in question is located along the coast of the Thermaikos Gulf, whose west side includes the port of the city and used to be a manufacturing zone, and is uniquely prepared to spearhead the development of the city and its regeneration into a vibrant regional and international pole. Founded in 315 BC, Thessaloniki is a historic city that has developed through the ages and, with projects such as the new CBD, it could continue to do so.

The project consists of an area site of 120.000m² and a building area of 400.000m². Although the deadline for the first round of questions has already passed, the deadline for the second round of questions is Tuesday 30 June 2020 and the deadline for entries is Wednesday 10 October 2020. However, registration closes on 25 May.

Competing professionals will design the new CBD in an area of 120.000 m2 behind the port. The area’s advantageous location next to the city’s port, near the historic center of the city and quite close to important road and rail networks, as well as near industrial zones and logistics infrastructure, offers opportunities for sustainable economic development. 

The area will see additional upgrades such as to the port, to the city’s new subway network and to its railway system with the potential development of the western suburban railway. By 2021, ongoing development will allow the city’s airport to become an expanded modern airport with a significantly increased capacity, connecting the city, further, with the world. 

ArXellence 2. Courtesy of Alumil.

Through architecture and urban planning, this CBD project will underline how the city of Thessaloniki belongs to the front line of our global forward-thinking cities. The project will mix top-level business facilities and neighborhoods of high-quality living.

To make this project a standout initiative that will attract investors, businesses and visitors; certain factors need to be considered: spatial organization, aesthetics, choice of materials, incorporation of environmental and social sustainability measures, evidence that the UN SDG’s have been taken into account.

ArXellence 2. Courtesy of Alumil.

The competition is sponsored and organized by ALUMIL, a company that designs and produces architectural aluminum systems—and a media partner of ArchiExpo. The competition is endorsed by the International Union of Architects (UIA). It will be conducted according to the UNESCO Standard Regulations for International Competitions in Architecture and Town Planning and the UIA best practice recommendations. The UIA approved official competition brief is available at the “Downloads” section.

The competition runs under the auspices of the Greek Ministry of Environment and Energy, the Central Macedonia Regional Government, the Municipality of Thessaloniki, the Technical Chamber of Greece (Central Macedonia Branch) and the Architects Council of Thessaloniki. 

The competition started on the 9 March 2020 and the registrations will be open until 25 May 2020. The due date for submissions is on 15 October 2020. The prizes will amount to 60.000 € and the 6 winners, along with 4 honorary mentions, will be announced on 25 November 2020. The awards ceremony will be followed by a 20-day exhibition in Thessaloniki Town Hall and a similar exhibition in Thessaloniki Music Hall. To get the official UIA approved competition brief and to register, please visit the competition’s website.

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