The Round Table
On Saturday, 11th of September, 11 a.m., on the sidelines of the parallel events of the Exhibition ArXellence 2, of the international architecture competition of ALUMIL, a round table was organized entitled “Seeking the possible and the obligatory in the relationship between Cultural Heritage and Contemporary Architecture". Coordinator of the discussion, which was attended by almost 1000 people online, was the architect - professional consultant of the competition Mr. Evangelos Lyroudias, while the panel of speakers was honored by the presence of selected members of the wider architecture community, civil engineers, but also professionals in general who center upon urban planning.
The event started with the presentation of the head of the ArXellence initiative and Director of Innovation of ALUMIL, Mr. Nikolaos Salpingidis, who made a brief review on the institution as well as on the vision of the Group according to him. As Mr. Salpingidis stated for ArXellence 2, “architects from 90 countries envisioned our city and its future. What we wanted to accomplish through the competition was to find ways thought which we would be able to implement such projects in the future, projects that would no longer be just ideas written on paper".
Ms. Morpho Papanikolaou was the first to take over the presentations, stating, inter alia, that "architects are called to comprehend data, to assimilate lots of reflections in a wide range as well as proposals of many scientific fields, and as directors of a hybrid in our case project, to compile a set of elaborate ideas" . Consequently, Mr. Georgios Arachovitis took the floor, emphasizing that "the conditions of an architectural competition must relate to its purpose. The purpose should be clear and fall into the process of a city". After the statement of Mr. Arachovitis, the discussion continued with the presentation of Mr. Prodromos Nikiforidis, who pointed out that "the following day, which is very important and which you also have taken very seriously, is decisive, because without the Municipality, the Region and the local bodies nothing can be done".
Following the conversation, Mr. Lyroudias gave the floor to Mr. Ilias Papageorgiou. He, after congratulating ALUMIL for the event, noted that “the partnership between the private sector and the state is necessary in order to jointly and holistically address these projects”. Next, Mr. Leon Errera emphasized that "there must be development, which will bring population growth and population growth will bring accordingly the development of this area, which in my opinion will be excellent". Afterwards, Mr. Dimitrios Samaras underlined the value of the west side of the seafront for such a project, as he said, "this area has some unique features, given its large plots and large properties, having a large rate, while once this was the entrance to the city”. In his statement, Mr. Nikolaos Theodosiou focused on the approach that such competitions should have and stated that "we should view things under a comprehensive umbrella and this umbrella could represent the sustainable development goals". Mr. Konstantinos Belimpasakis, in turn, expressed his belief that ALUMIL initiative "has admittedly impressed the public opinion of Thessaloniki", while Ms. Maria Zourna referred to the next step of ArXellence and stressed that “it is in honour of the organizers the fact that they do not conclude here the chapter called architecture competition for the area, yet they seek and worry about whether there is more to come".
Concluding the initial statements, Mr. Konstantinos Karatsolis, approached the issue, legally speaking, of urban regeneration in the territory of the European Union and pointed out that “we observe that, in legal terms too, everything we have known so far regarding the legislation of the Member States is being exceeded very quickly, as the private initiative enters very fiercely into what we call the transformation and change of cities".
The amelioration of people’s life and the next step
Following the speeches and replies of all the speakers, Mr. Nikolaos Salpingidis, who had the last word, spoke on behalf of ALUMIL and stated that the company always focuses on innovation in all fields. As he noted, the mission of ALUMIL is to improve people’s lives through the building and its wider operations. At the end of his speech, Mr. Salpingidis stated that in order for an ArXellence 3 to come, some further steps will have to be taken, such as a more extensive and more thorough evaluation of the competition buildings, with the ultimate goal to overall improve the city.