Presentation of the preliminary design for the regeneration project
Architect Juan Lucas Young of ‘Sauerbruch Hutton’ characterised the new exhibition and conference centre (ConfEx Park) as an “amazing gift” for Thessaloniki, during today’s presentation of the redevelopment project’s preliminary design. Representatives of the team consisting of Sauerbruch Hutton (Germany), Gustafson Porter + Bowman (UK), and Elena Stavropoulou (Greece) were in Thessaloniki to present the most recent design developments of the redevelopment project.
In the framework of the preliminary design that was prepared from November 2021 to May 2022, and which essentially adapted the initial design to the realities of Thessaloniki and its exhibition needs, the percentage of the area provided for city use rose from the initial provision of 50% to more than 55%, constructed surfaces were reduced by 12%, the logistics were streamlined, traffic between exhibitions was improved, and the volume of the business centre was limited.
As was stressed during the preliminary design presentation, the time schedules of the project are being observed and all the designs will completed during the 2022-2023 two-year period, the tender invitation for the construction of the new exhibition and conference centre will be launched in 2023, and construction work will commence in 2024. In fact, it was underlined that during the works the Fair will not stop operating for a single day. As noted by the president of TIF-Helexpo, Mr Tasos Tzikas, the opening is estimated to take place in 2026, however a small extension may be necessary, in order to ensure the uninterrupted operation of the Fair. At this stage the file to secure the approval for funding from the European Commission is being prepared. The project will be funded from two sources, public and private funds.
The updated budget of the redevelopment comes to 240 million Euros on the technical side, with a total of 280 million Euros when including unforeseen expenditures.
In reference to the park, the landscape architect of Gustafson Porter + Bowman, Mr Neil Porter, underlined that it was designed to enhance local biodiversity, and to utilise rainwater in the green spaces.
On her side, Elena Stavropoulou of Elena Stavropoulou Architects stressed the catalytic contribution of the team of Greek designers, in soundly completing the preliminary design, while she mentioned that all issues were studied to cover the needs of both the conference centre and of the city of Thessaloniki.
The CEO of TIF-HELEXPO, Mr Kyriakos Pozrikidis, noted that all goals have been achieved, from environmental to architectural, and he characterised the new exhibition and conference centre as an architectural attraction and a joy for the city. The president of the exhibition agency, Mr Tasos Tzikas, made special mention of the excellent, as he characterised it, partnership with the architects-designers throughout this period.
Lastly, the general director of TIF-Helexpo, Mr Alexis Tsaxirlis, underlined the necessity of the project for Thessaloniki.
The 3D rendition has been created by the landscape architects of ConfEx Park, Gustafson Porter & Bowman.