The Experience Park is part of the Ellinikon project the largest urban regeneration project in Europe where the former Athens Airport is transformed into a 2.000.000 m2 park. The Experience Park is the first segment of the investment being built and delivered to the public.
The core notion of the project is Symbiosis, where the design proposal satisfies the needs of humans and nature for both ‘worlds’ to live in equilibrium and complement each other. The proposal creates the base for this harmonious coexistence and sets an example of how future wellbeing can take place.
The Experience Park expands in a total of 75.000 m2, it includes more than 500 trees and 50.000 plants and comprises of four squares and four different green areas. The park maintains to the highest degree possible the beautiful elements of the former airport – both natural and artificial elements – and creates a basis for dialogue, and discovery of its special features along with the promotion of core sustainability ideas.
In terms of softscape the soil is preserved and enriched in order to become more fertile, the existing plants and trees which are enriched with native plantation revealing the beauty of the Attic Landscape and connecting with the surrounding context. The existing hardscapes are preserved to the largest degree possible and are highlighted with great care. The pieces that are removed, are transformed into small surprises, and are re-introduced to the project in the forms of paving, seating and art installations. In terms of buildings, we have designed buildings which are discussed in the landscape and serve the operational needs of the park – these are constructed from light and ecological materials, thus reduce the carbon emissions throughout the construction and operation of the park.
Since day one the main aim for the project was to highlight Sustainability and the core values of reduce, reuse, recycle through its strategy of preserving, and re-interpreting the existing materials into design items, for instance hardscapes and benches.
For hardscapes the aim has been to restore and maintain following specific treatments the existing hardscapes matching the surrounding buildings and to replace any damaged ones. In terms of furniture and equipment benches are made from the existing high-quality concrete previously used as flooring. The reuse of this common and invisible to most visitors material is one of the most important and profound examples of showcasing ecology in terms of an educational perspective.
The project aims to set a new paradigm of public spaces which have sustainability in its core, where the past and the heritage of the site is celebrated and preserved and re-introduced through the lens of its new identity.