Opening of Eleftheria Square in Cyprus designed by ZHA

Opening of Eleftheria Square in Cyprus designed by ZHA,

Zaha Hadid Architects’ (ZHA), has submitted a design for Elphtheria Square as the city’s main gathering space,

ZHA’s design creates new connections aimed at uniting the divided capital,

and the massive Venetian fortifications of Nicosia separate the old city from its modern districts.

The city’s “Green Line” divides the capital into two distinct communities.

The square is located near the center of Nicosia, next to the Venetian ramparts and the dry moat

that surrounds the city.

These large defensive walls were constructed in the Middle Ages and were extensively rebuilt by the Venetians in the 16th century.

To mark the boundaries of the older part of the capital, separating the old city

from the new areas outside the walls.

ZHA envisions Eleftheira Square as the initial phase of a much larger urban scheme that could be a catalyst for the reunification of the capital.

The design ensures unobstructed views of the Venetian walls,

establishing these fortifications as an integral part of Nicosia’s identity.

While the dry moat is also open for public use to create a tropical garden that surrounds the city.

 

Formerly inaccessible moat areas have been transformed with new civic squares, gardens,

and parks filled with palm trees.

Where the moat can become a “green belt” around the city, ZHA’s design proposes expanding these new public spaces within the moat to trace the old city walls and encircle Nicosia,

reconnecting the communities in this divided capital.

The Eleftheria Square design elevates the moat topography to create an upper level bridge to meet the surrounding streetscape.

It establishes direct connections with the urban fabric of the city and defines a new public square in the heart of the capital.

The fluid geometry of the moat was created by the process of triangulating the irregular shapes of the ancient fortifications, after they were transformed into an urban park.

This is in order to create “intensity” points that define benches, flowerbeds,

or water features within the new garden.

The granite trench paving conveys timeless solidity, while the open joints between the granite slabs create a passive rainwater drainage system.

 

This system allows new trees planted within the moat to naturally balance groundwater levels and reduce erosion of the foundations of medieval walls.

Eleftheria Square, as the largest civic square in Nicosia, has been designed to host festivals and public events.

The upper level bridge and the supporting columns are made of concrete,

their sculptural forms ensure structural integrity in this seismic zone and the base of each column turns into benches.

In order to modernize the square, extensive archaeological excavations are taking place along with works to repair and protect the historic Venetian walls.

The redevelopment also includes two cafés within the plaza and a new underground car park with an access ramp on Omirou Avenue.

Stairs and elevators are directly connected to the bus stop at Solomos Square.

 

 

ZHA’s transformation of Eleftheria Square weaves together Nicosia’s rich history

with unwavering optimism for the future, by damming the Venetian wall and moat.

Where the plaza becomes an important gateway to the old city,

the underground car park removes cars from the streets of the old city.

This is in order to enable more pedestrians that enhance the urban space of this historic district

while creating new public parks and plazas for the residents and visitors of the city to enjoy.

 

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