Historic building goes contemporary
What was once a decaying neighbourhood in the eastern quarter of Nicosia is now experiencing a transformation as part of a series of projects designed to generate social and economic activity. This project involved the restoration of an abandoned historic building (the Old Poorhouse), turning it into a contemporary centre where locals, notably the elderly and immigrants, can benefit from social and cultural services.
“This project is a very good example of what can be accomplished through the utilisation of the EU Regional Policy and the available funds for balanced sustainable development at the European, national and local level. It is also the result of targeted co-operation of all levels of governance”.
Abstract of speech by Ms Eleni Mavrou, Mayor of Nicosia
Completed on 21 December 2008, the project struck a balance between retaining the architectural beauty of the original building and adding new features, particularly the interior. In total, some 3 000 m2 of buildings and open spaces were transformed.
Rundown areas given a boost
With financial backing from the EU, the Department of Town Planning and Housing, in cooperation with the Nicosia Municipality, succeeded in providing a centre for not only the local community but also others in the wider area of the walled city of Nicosia. The Municipality saw the need to breathe new life into traditional neighbourhoods adjacent to the ceasefire line, contributing to regeneration of the eastern parts of the city.
Retaining the old charm
The project included restoration of the existing building complex, with care taken to make only minimum additions and alterations. The works were carried out in accordance with international good practice principles and charters in respect of architectural heritage. However, given the range of specialised activities planned for the multipurpose building in the future, the Municipality also carried out some redesign work of the interior. Other work saw auxiliary buildings added and the surrounding area redesigned for different events, including open-air activities.
A focus for all generations
The main building was designed to host the different activities of the Centre. The northern part is used for administration work, the middle part – which is the older section – hosts the cultural activities, and the southern part is utilised for social programmes for the elderly, immigrants and children, where they have use of different areas and rooms, depending on the group involved. In all, the project covered a total building area of 780 m² and open spaces of 2 150 m².