"COASTAL LANDFORMS" _ waterfront rehabilitation in Chania

by Anna Chatzimichali, Xanthippi Tzatha from School of Architecture, Technical University of Crete, Greece
Tutored by: Panita Karamanea

Author comments:

The thesis approaches the acid problem of coastal erosion and the need for maritime regions, such as Crete, to take measures in order to protect and maintain their shoreline, providing at the same time sustainable waterfronts for the users.
The eroded area of Koum Kapi in Chania (a place-testimony of various historic eras) has been chosen as a case of an urban, abandoned seafront, comprised of successive and overlapping historic layers that need to be protected from natural and man-made erosion. Through analysis, we investigated the mechanics of coastal structural forms and decided on the architectural implementation of coastal engineering methods (beach nourishment, groins, soil retaining walls, etc) in order to propose adequate protection.
Strategically, a new “hybrid” coastal-urban zone was designated as design territory and design process originated from sea to the city. The creation of a third “hybrid” system would guarantee protection from the erosion , would act as intermediate plateau between sea and city, historic monuments and the abandoned natural surfaces dictating at the same time smooth minimum transitions from one system to another.
With a second reading, this “hybrid” system becomes the tool to discover lost and new relations of the user with the sea,the sun, the beach and the inaccessible rocky terrain coast to the east, through the creation of paths and walkways, resting areas and squares, places of swinging and isolation.

Tutor comments:

“Coastal Landforms” concerns the restoration and the rehabilitation of the east coastline of the city of Chania, Crete. The specific waterfront used to be the city’s soft edge, a sandy beach that was immersed smoothly to the sea. During the years this relationship got lost and cement walls had been constructed that destroyed the natural landscape. Coastal erosion and serious inundations are appearing during winter.

The diploma project intends to create a resilient waterfront that would combine the ecological functions of the beach with the leisure needs of the city. A new hybrid zone between the urban fabric and the sea edge is being created, that relates in an optimum way, nature and human-made actions.
An intense and profound study of the beach redesign via engineering and technical inputs of specialists has taken place, as well as a vegetation strategy that would help nature to reappear on the site.

The new landscape is a transitional zone of fluxes, drawn by an elegant fluid geometry that gently relates and solves the city’s border towards the water. A gradual and discreet soft edge with local species and places to rest. An urban beach, a vegetated waterfront, a typical restored Mediterranean landscape to enjoy.

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