Roundabouts oscillate between the attraction of traffic around them and their relative isolation as “islands” of public space. The present design attempts to take advantage of this bipolarity, proposing the creation of a passage through the roundabout. Simultaneously, it attempts to enrich the passage and the passer-by with a temporary urban experience through the mechanism of framing selected aspects of the urban landscape.
This mechanism attempts to encourage the pedestrian to observe and then reflect on the isolated frame, emphasizing these fragmented elements that may acquire a different meaning as the landscape reassembles through the exit of the proposal.
The framed views of the urban landscape are those that include the natural environment. During its passage, the passer-by faces, but also experiences successively the three primary natural elements: the Mountain-Earth, the Sky, and the Sea. The selection of this specific roundabout to install the mechanism was due to its instant connection with these primary elements, where they all meet through a central axis that passes through the site.
The entrance to the passage is underground from the pedestrian street next to the Public Library, getting the passer-by in touch with the element of Earth. The gaze of the passer-by is then directed to the Sky while entering the roundabout. The exit is located toward the Sea through an overpass. By reversing the path direction, this process still takes place, this time in reverse order.
These three natural elements were chosen because all of them are under immediate threat, not only internationally but also the city of Volos, due to the environmental crisis and the advent of the Anthropocene. This proposal attempts to interpret these elements differently by detaching them from the daily visual continuum, through the process of framing, urging the passers-by and the citizens to reflect on them and defend them as an integral part of the public space.