The area over time and the birth of the settlement
The settlement of the working houses of the Axios Gate in the area of Xirokrini is a project of the period 1967-1974. At this location, new settlements can be seen from the beginning of the 20th century. The first settlements, Israeli, were built after the great fire of 1917 to restore the downtown fires. Later in 1924, 1928 and 1932, near the Israeli settlement, shelters were built by the Ministry of Welfare for the Restoration of Refugees. The leveling of Rezi Vardar by the municipality of Thessaloniki at the behest of the German authorities in the summer of 1943 changed the organized nature of the area, intensifying the character of the coastal settlement. In 1967, the residences were replaced by the buildings of the new settlement.
The project body was the Independent Workers Organization. The construction of 722 apartments is part of a joint construction program between AOEK and the Ministry of Social Welfare. The aim was to simultaneously rehabilitate the occupants of the area but also to offer housing to eligible AOEK employees.
The involvement of a well-known architect in the design process is not mentioned, with the only exception of the case of Mars Konstantinidis, who was the head of the AOEK Research Service. The study was carried out through the studies section. The buildings reveal clear influences from European works and typological loans from earlier labor settlements in Greece. Construction of all buildings was undertaken by a construction company, dividing the project into five subcontracts. Construction began in 1967. The pace of construction was intense and the project was delivered within two years of the commencement of works with the exception of the four 12-storey apartment buildings where the construction time was four years. In the Official Gazette 175D of 1971 also exceeded the maximum permissible height of buildings, allowing the height of 43m for twelve-storey buildings on Lagada Street. On December 19, 1971, the lottery for the lower buildings was held, and three years later the tenants of the twelve-storey apartments were installed.
The settlement of the working houses of the Portal of Axios is a particularly interesting document of the evolution of the way of the construction of working houses in Greece, from 1954 to 1974. In the settlement we find six different types of buildings which express the change of lifestyle. of workers in Greece. Thus, the modern towers of the 12-storey condominiums are adjacent to typical four-storey condominiums, designed in the same period. At the same time, within the boundaries of the settlement there are also the buildings that were built for the Ministry of Social Welfare. These are similar to buildings commonly found in working-class settlements.
Typologies of buildings
1_ The twelve floors (type 12001)
The twelve-storey block of flats in the Axios Gate complex was a pilot project and an experiment in residential high-rise towers. The only 12-storey Greek residential buildings in Greece are these. The logic that the form derives from the function, according to Bauhauss standards, organizes the facades and planes of the building. The floor plan of the typical floor is almost square and in the center is the core of the stairway with the two lifts. Around it, there are three compartments.
2_ The buildings for the Ministry of Social Welfare
Morphologically, these buildings are evidence of European modernism as adopted by the architects of the time. Aris Constantinidis was the boss throughout, and later on Skiadaresis, the organ buildings were in the form of a rectangular bulkhead whose only element was the static cannabis that framed the openings. The buildings of the settlement, built on behalf of the Providence, constitute a repetition and variation of building units known from other older settlements of working-class dwellings. Functionality is dominant and form is clear from function. In the settlement of Axiou Port, Providence buildings are categorized into 4 types.
3 type 4004
Another type of block of flats found in the working-class housing complex of Axiou Port is the type 4004. This type is repeated symmetrically in the urban area of the complex and due to its plan H-shape, it forms complexes with interesting spaces between buildings.
Now and restoration plan
The situation of the settlement of Axios Portal today is not significantly different from that of the rest of the urban fabric that surrounds it. The complex issue of ownership, coupled with the intense complexity of urban space in the first design, have the effect of undermining and ultimately degrading the settlement. At the same time, at the building level, the various additions by the tenants have led to aesthetic and functional deterioration of each building of the settlement.
Despite the current state of affairs and the image of downgrading of buildings, there are dynamic elements to exploit since its birth. The low density of construction and the high rates of green and unstructured spaces combined with the rather interesting architectural character of the buildings, can create a modern-day townhouse very close to the city center.
In this regard, a number of changes are planned in a proposal for the rehabilitation and enhancement of the settlement. At the urban level, the basic intention is to reverse the complexity of the first design. The purpose is to give a sense of the scale of the space and at the same time visual integration of the whole settlement. At the same time, the creation of local centers near each of the twelve-storey buildings and the connection of the whole settlement with large sidewalks running around the area with the educational facilities help in this direction. The character of the grove in an urban environment must be maintained and enhanced.
With regard to the restoration of buildings, it is proposed to remove all later additions and restore them to a clean form, incorporating the need for sun protection. The floor plans are redesigned in modern terms to ensure everyones accessibility. The twelve-storey block of flats on Lagada Street, between the two towers, features a completely reversible building addition.