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Rapid Design Intervention Transforms Run Down Street

Rapid Design Intervention Transforms Run Down Street

Atenistas takes run down street and turns it into a fun and functional public space! The playful Perikleous Street public intervention marries beautification with community engagement to transform a formerly neglected alley into a pleasant public space. The street was once a space inundated with trash, a dark and unwelcoming passageway, a dilapidated façade for graffiti, and a neglected piece of the city of Athens, Greece but now stands as a prime example of urban revitalization. The vision

The street before; credit: Atenistas

The street before; credit: Atenistas

The goal of the design intervention by Atenistas was to incorporate everyday items into a streetscape that would engage visitors, enliven the space, and make a statement with public art. The project was a joint effort and utilized connections with local business owners, residents, and the public lighting division. After 3 weeks of design, planning, and preparation, construction began on the morning of January 18th, 2014. The street was transformed in a matter of 11 hours with the help of 40 volunteers. The Design “Flying” AC Units: AC units that look like they are flying above the cityscape are some of the most playful and lighthearted pieces of the installation. Instead of looking at the AC units as a disruption or obstacle to the overall vision, they were embraced and became a focal point of the design.
Public space intervention; credit: Atenistas

Public space intervention; credit: Atenistas

Pallet Furniture: Seating elements were carefully designed to allow for groups and individuals to coexist in the space. Stacked pallets with attached chair backs invite visitors to linger and converse. Other stacks of pallets form planter boxes and create mini outdoor rooms.
Pallet furniture; credit: Atenistas

Pallet furniture; credit: Atenistas

Cityscape Mural: The minimalistic design of the urban mural evokes a sense of unity and feeling of security or comfort. A minimal color pallet is used so the bright yellow acts as an accent and highlight in the mural. Lights: One major key to the design was the installation of new lights in the alleyway by the public lighting division. This created a space where visitors felt safe at night. The newly redesigned alleyway along Perikleous Street creates a welcoming space and stands as a product of community collaboration. It is one of many examples of rapid landscape architecture in the city that is taking over streets, blocks, building facades, and parks all around the world.
City mural on display; credit: Atenistas

City mural on display; credit: Atenistas

Lessons from Perikleous Street: Firms like Atenistas are setting the bar with design projects such as the one completed along Perikleous Street. Simplicity is best and helps create a cohesive and manageable design. If designers had sketched out elaborate murals or complex planters, it would have required more skilled volunteers and more expensive materials. Utilizing materials at our fingertips in designs help create local character that is unique to one space as well as holding down the project costs.
You probably wouldn't of sat there before! Credit: Atenistas

You probably wouldn’t of sat there before! Credit: Atenistas

The monetary investment was minimal but the time investment by designers and community members is what really transformed the space. After the idea was put onto paper, it took a team of people to come together to make the idea a reality. When community members have a stake in a project they immediately feel a sense of ownership and pride in their town and the project. This lesson on community collaboration and involvement is one of many that we can take away from projects such as Perikleous Street. See also: Top 10 Examples of Rapid Landscape Architecture Article written by Rachel Lynn Kruse

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