The city, as an expression of a general social procedure in space, cannot just be considered as a sequence of objects placed in it according to a certain design, but it constitutes a functional “totality” in which every single part (of it) is related to all the others. It is not only the buildings or the natural environment, but also a gathering of people who live and take action together, under certain laws and rules, under common values and merits. It is a “workshop of culture and civilization”.
Every city has to create the appropriate living conditions but, at the same time, the financial, political, cultural, social and esthetic ones, so that the everyday life and action of the man as well as the social will be promoted.
An essential element of a city, so that the above goals will be succeeded, are undoubtedly, the free open places, “….cities of every time foresee open spaces, where social gatherings will be promoted and will serve the conducting of public relations”. A place like that is the square which constitutes the microcosm of urban life. It is indissolubly connected to the present and the past of a city and constitutes the canvass, on which the political and social change and, in general, the public life and action are painted.
The present project has the goal to study the “square” as an organic part of the city, historically originated, and, additionally, as a matter of designing which is faced as a new place into the already formed urban web and reveal those basic elements of design, of functionality, of sociality, of aesthetism, of symbol, as well as of perception, which compose it. An attempt to find 9designing scenarios-tools and, then, the reading under certain suggestions of ideas of each group of architectures participated in competitions about squares: 1) “Aristotelous Square” in Salonica and in particular participations of the competition of 1997 2) “Syntagma Square” 3) “Omonoia Square” and 4) “Monastiraki Square” in Athens and specifically participations of the competition of July-August 1998 which was open to all the European architectures.
The research of the suggestions of the architectural competitions was conducted objectively, neglecting the sayings, the views-expectations and the goals not only of the researchers but also of the sponsors. Consequently, the finding of architectural principles in each suggestion of architectural competition contributes to the better reading and comprehension of the place. Every suggestion hides inside a designing tool which, in most cases, is not evident. Most of the times, it hides a combination of designing scenarios. It is easily understandable if someone takes into consideration the fact that, apart from all the other uses that take place in the square, the use of trade (organized or not) is almost present in all cases. Indeed, in some cases, someone can read designing tools different from those of the researcher. Moreover, regardless of what the researchers say, there are models of organization that are formulated with variations. Every scenario mentioned has a specific history, is specifically dated and has specific characteristics. Every suggestion, which belongs to that category, “carries” all these elements. However, the insertion of new elements and ideas, the different approach of each researcher, the needs created in time, formulates a variation of the primary designing tool. The citizen of today will not be able to suppress their everyday life to designs that would not be straightforwardly associated to the real needs and functional utility. The existence of variations of the primary designing scenario, sometimes, results in not being evident and comprehensible from the beginning.
Every suggestion hides elements that we should take advantage of, and not be left at the level of suggestions and competitions. Unfortunately, all the suggestions are noticed to be maintained at the level of ideas and competitions, with very little practice, despite the fact that a lot of Greeks think hard between the maintenance and the modernization of the historically and topographically peculiar greek square.