Project Challenges and Major Goals
TIF-HELEXPO S.A., with its decision to proceed to a major redevelopment of the whole property by designing and constructing of a sustainable, environmentally friendly and state-of-the-art ConfEx Centre, together with a new urban Park, is envisioning a project that will dominate the downtown area of the city of Thessaloniki. The ConfEx Park is expected to play a significant role in the economy of the city, by contributing to its transformation to an important international business and tourist destination.
The project goal is the cost-effective design of a ConfEx Centre to the highest-standards, that will optimize the connection between buildings layout and associated activities within the site. The project also aims to further enhance the local, regional and international role of TIF-HELEXPO and create a new iconic landmark for the city that will also act as a milestone for the business history of the broader region, respecting the environment and the principles of sustainable development.
The company seeks the most creative and innovative proposal, that will best highlight the meaning, value, and potential of the ConfEx Centre and its public open space and transform the area into an international attraction as well as a citizen-centered space. The whole project and especially the design of the building areas III and IV should be of high architectural importance in order for new landmarks in the metropolitan area of Thessaloniki to be formed, leaving a mark of exemplary architecture in the city for the next decades.
The major goals and objectives of this competition are:
a. To enhance and enrich the value of the ConfEx Centre as an iconic landmark of Thessaloniki, which will boost its international competitiveness.
b. To create a complex of high quality in terms of architecture and urban design which will inspire citizens and visitors and significantly contribute to the enhancement of the urban environment.
c. To design a highly functional ConfEx Center which will be widely considered as an international exhibition hub.
d. To establish a fresh ‘identity’ connecting the city’s past with its future.
e. To create a cohesive scheme design that connects the new exhibition center with key spaces and landmarks of the city.
f. To achieve the best possible integration of the buildings that are to be preserved within the new complex
g. To generate ideas for an active public space throughout the year, which will break down physical and conceptual barriers, and bring fluidity between the city and the TIF property.
h. To create an efficient and sustainable complex, which will contribute to the improvement of Thessaloniki’s urban environment.
i. To use sustainable design strategies- reducing possible environmental impacts- such as renewable energy systems, sustainable water and waste management, use of environmentally friendly materials and minimizing resource consumption.
- The design layout shall be open to the public, accessible for all and with functional linkages between buildings as well as meaningful connections with the urban tissue.
- Bioclimatic design and environmentally friendly practices according to the local climate are strongly encouraged.
- The boundaries of the development site need to offer unobstructed views and connection pathways between the ConfEx park and the surrounding public space. Boundary treatment needs to ensure site access control and security over the night as well, in order for basic targets of the whole project to be met.
- It is essential to achieve high -end architecture, combining functionality and aesthetics of the buildings, which will be the new landmarks of the city center.
- There is artistic license regarding the design and the layout of the buildings, as they are not restricted to a specific concept. However, the proposals need to follow guidelines set in the masterplan, to conform to height restrictions and to take into consideration views and the context of the surrounding area.
- Competitors are called to seek for the best balance between the diversity of architectural elements expressing different uses and/or symbolic aspects within the ConfEx Park, and the necessity to create a cohesive complex which will constitute an important landmark as a whole.
- The identity of each sector and features of individual buildings shall be considered.
- The size of each building shall be determined by referring to the Master Plan and the required built up area. The building lines defined in the Master Plan should be respected, however, competitors are free to decrease the lot coverage ratio in order to gain extra open space.
- The building’s design should be based on bioclimatic design principles taking into consideration the local weather and climate conditions, the solar path throughout the year and orientation of the buildings, the direction of the winds as well as the topography of the site (slope, etc). Competitors should propose innovative ideas regarding the envelope of the buildings, incorporating climate responsive facades, which will achieve thermal comfort inside the building and will incorporate energy saving techniques.
- Building volumes within the maximum allowed building footprint and height shall be freely treated either as a whole or partially.
- Basement floor plans for any ancillary uses, such as underground parking, electromechanical facilities, restrooms, storage rooms etc., are not required in this phase. Competitors should provide basement floor plans only for main uses.
- None of the existing buildings located within the building lines demarcated in the Master Plan is considered to be preserved. However, if any of the above existing buildings (or parts of them) is thought by the Competitors of high architectural importance, it is acceptable to be incorporated in the design, providing that the proposal justifies that the building can serve the per area required uses. In any other case, the proposal to demolish them is equally acceptable.
- Giving emphasis on the pedestrian and bicycle network within the development site and in conjunction with the urban tissue, the landscape design will introduce an all seasons attractive and sustainable environment for citizens, convention center visitors and tourists.
- The park area is intended to work as a buffer zone between the buildings of the complex and the surroundings as well as a relaxation and activities hub for the ConfEx center facilities.
- Conflicting issues between free access for the public and security restrictions required for the temporary events/exhibition in exclusive use areas shall be effectively treated.
- The ConfEx Park should reach an exemplary level of environmental design. An environmentally friendly approach is the main concept of the entire project and focuses on specific key points, which mainly comprise sustainability of construction works and materials, low emissions, circular economy and efficient thermal comfort.
- Project buildings should be able to offset their carbon footprint and be near zero energy buildings.
- The park and the buildings should deliver regeneration through environmental improvement with regards to energy and air quality as well as local biodiversity.
- The whole area should be designed according to bioclimatic design principles to improve the microclimatic conditions of the area.
- It is strongly encouraged to use natural resources (solar, wind, geothermal energy) to cover the energy needs of ConfEx park to a great extent.
- Electric energy consumption of the exhibition and conference buildings, should be reduced to the minimum, based on renewable energy sources production and energy storage on site;
- Any asphalt paving or the use of concrete as a coating material on surfaces that do not serve the necessary operational needs of the project is not suggested
- The design should provide the maximum possible utilization of rainwater in the irrigation of green spaces.
- The design of the ConfEx Park should ensure an adequate level of flood protection, considering the morphological and hydrographic conditions of the site and surrounding area.
- Appropriate measures should be incorporated in the design to secure noise protection of the surrounding area.