In 2012 Chania Municipality announced an architectural contest for the Rehabilitation of the Koum Kapi coastal front in Chania. A group of three architects studied on the redevelopment of the area directed by strict limitations posed by the Municipality of Chania, associated with the low-cost interventions combined with the significant public space improvement. The Master Plan design focused on interventions that would not change the character of the area yet would ensure the public space use availability.
Aim of the proposed intervention is the design of a public space that will be able to address both the local (at the scale of the neighborhood) and the city level. The proposal is organized through the subdivision of the ground plane, that follows an approach that departs from what we usually expect in similar situations, that is, linear tracings along the seaside that are defining zones of different movements and activities. Instead the ground plane is subdivided in rectangular shapes of different sizes and materiality. The subdivision is controlled through a packing algorithm.
The maximum and minimum size of the packing process is altered locally according to the different events that each area will host. The result is a patchwork of sizes and materials, that apart from its main organizational properties it also functions as a reference to both the nature of the Koum Kapi area as a patchwork of diverse elements and to patterns that can be found throughout the city of Chania (for example the masonry of the city’s walls). The size of the rectangulars range from a few centimeters to 10 meters, allowing this way for a large variation.
Along this patchwork various ‘spacial events‘, of larger or smaller scale, are taking place that are usually signified with the presence of the larger rectangular shapes. The patchwork functions more like a field, whose elements are of varying and locally differentiated size and density. Therefore the result of the proposal is an urban field that at the same time promotes local differentiation and provides a recognizable vocabulary throughout the seaside.
The eastern part of the proposal, being the narrowest, is characterized by linear movement interrupted by sitting areas. The central part is defined by a series of spaces that take advantage of the triangular opening in the building line in order to define spaces with different character and function. In the western part of the proposal the seafront wall, that was up to here clearly defined, starts to dissolve and ‘deconstruct’. The patchwork pattern starts moving in the third dimension in the form of progressive downgradings of the ground plane creating a connection with the beach and providing access to it.