Until the early 1900s, the City of Nicosia was limited to the area within the Venetian walls with only three wall gate accesses to the City’s interior.
Towards the end of the 19th century, a number of administrative buildings were moved outside the walls and land was divided into individual plots to the south and west. Openings were made on the walls allowing passages in the form of bridges to connect the City within the walls with the new areas.
The creation of a connecting entry point, where Eleftheria Square is situated today, has gradually become a very important urban axis connecting the old town with the new extensions outside the walls.
Along this axis is the area of the old stadium known as the “Old GSP” that began to function as such in 1902 serving the needs of the GSP Sports Club (All-Cyprus Gymnastic Club).
During the period between 1902 - 1978 the Old GSP stadium was Nicosia’s main sports centre, hosting a large number of sporting, cultural and social events, contributing to the social life style network of the area and surroundings.
The stadium’s activities were greatly limited after the establishment of Makarios Sports Centre in 1978. Since then the Old GSP has been used as a public carpark living the site and the surrounding areas neglected, unexploited and undeveloped.
The concept behind the proposal takes the form of a dynamic architectural intervention, which is only a smaller part of a larger urban planning strategy: the realization of the urban axis from the historical central of Nicosia (Eleftheria square) to the presidential palace (new City centre) that aims to unify the old part of the City to the new.
The site is situated in the heart of the most critical infrastructural programs (House of Representatives, State Museum of Art, Cultural Centre, State Theatre) along the urban access aims to create a landmark, attracting a variety of multicultural and multidimensional programmatic and infrastructural activities that aim to restore and revitalize the City’s centre, transcending it into a dynamic public space symbolic of the administrative role of the urban centre of the capital, Nicosia.
The reconstruction of the area of the Old GSP aspires to establish “a main core”, point of reference, City plaza injected with a variety of recreational areas, green spaces, as well as underground car parks that will serve the above as well as the greater area of the urban centre including the commercial centre of the walled City of Nicosia.
The use of the “walls” as a conceptual tool “re-position” within the site (old – new) boundaries, stretched, reformed and finally transformed to a multi-layered “hybrid terrain” of social, infrastructural and programmatic qualities becomes the point of reference of the Capital, opening into the City / public revealing its “hidden secrets” and vice versa.
The multidimensional, topological design of the proposal interweaves in several levels with the City’s existing “fabric” accessing, absorbing and allowing uninterrupted flow of movement and programme “new and old” to unify, interact and co-exist within the new dynamic urban space.
The proposal seeks to regenerate, re-position and enhance the programmatic and social qualities on site, affecting broader the Metropolitan system of the City of Nicosia, by offering a highly flexible range of recreational facilities such as spaces to rest, read, exercise, interact and play.
This range of facilities will keep the project’s vitality operational through out the day and night, making it economically viable to realize and maintain.
The multi dimensional surfaces of the propose Park / Square are digitized into discrete units of paving, planting and lighting elements, which are assembled into a variety of gradients from a 100% hard (paving) to 100% soft, richly planted biotopes, varying density, height and colour.
Specific urban microclimates implanted thought out the site stretch along the organic surfaces including sunny, shady, wet, windy, dry and sheltered spaces allowing for a variety of stimulating spatial and programmatic experiences within the boundaries of the propose site and further into the City.
Activation of a highly flexible range of programmes (fix - temporary) can be achieved to co-exist simultaneously within the organic multidimensional spatial organisation of the design by introducing four Zones (sub-squares) within the propose site that vary in scale (small – medium - large).
The Zones can also merge into one hybrid “space - square” to allow specific programme or programmes to run.
Re-adjustable Video Wall Screen is located near the main entry point of the Square / Park providing vertical optical connection between all four zones and the busy streets of Evagorou and G Afxentiou Avenue.
The aim is to enable a unique multi cultural social network of infrastructural, spatial and programmatic elements to co-exist within a new dynamic “hybrid space”, unifying old and new, providing for a missing social “Landmark” in the heard of the City’s capital.