old Ellinikon International Airport Masterplan
a proposal with identity for the new 530 hectare development of the decommissioned airport
The old Athens Airport at Ellinikon was decommissioned in 2000, opening up a large parcel of land of 530 hectares in the southern periphery of Athens for new development. Proposals to render it into the largest natural wilderness Metropolitan Park, or a fully commercialized urban setting, lacked vision, a sense of purpose, an understanding of the heritage and the scale of the site. To streamline the national debate, we as Team Dendrou offered a comprehensive analysis and proposal for a rational, yet inspiring solution with an identity, the first advanced solution concept which at an early stage reached the ears of the authorities.
Although the size of the site is impressive and its location on about 3 kilometers of shoreline of the Saronikos Gulf, many restrictions are imposed. Of the 3,000 meters of shoreline only about 1,000 meters is unencumbered, and even that stretch is cut from the rest of the site by Poseidonos Avenue. Access is restricted only to the northeast, the northwest, and the southwest corners. An existing marina to the southwest, limits the available shoreline to the northwest. The assets of the site include: the Old East Terminal –the Saarinen Building, which can be restored to its original “look” and recommissioned as a convention center or other such use. The 1,000 m shoreline can give access to a new marina, placing the Poseidonos Avenue corridor underground, over that stretch. The Olympic Facilities, the canoe-kayak center, and the facilities on Poseidonos Avenue, as well as the Old West Terminal buildings, and an ephemeral stream on the northern border can all contribute to an attractive solution.
In our concept, the scale is set to the modulo of the National Garden of Athens. Thirteen large thematic parks of that size will be created throughout the site, to celebrate sustainability and interactivity in a ‘green environment.’ The waterfront will be valorized with the creation of a Marina for luxury yachts together with hotels, and other tourist attractions; in conjunction with the use of the still permitted under Court Order (2010) airstrip for non-commercial use. Museums, Cultural Centers, Exposition and Convention Centers will be created, together with the upgrading and use of the Saarinen Terminal building. Residential areas will be established including a mix of single-family, town homes, and high-rise condominiums so as to develop a Sustainable Community. To create a sense of an Eastern Gate to the City, a Tower will be erected about 300m high. The site will be linked via a cable car system to a resort area and park with scenic lookout points that will be created on Mt. Hymmetus.
Lastly, to provide a sense of pride and direction of the country, the old military basis (NATO) will be used to House a New Parliament, a new Metropolitan Cathedral, and Monument to the Unknown Soldier; and possibly a Museum to celebrate the illustrious past of Olympic Airways on these hallowed grounds, in collaboration with the Onassis Foundation, commemorating the past and the sacrifice of Alexandros.