Design that works
ATHENS OPEN SCHOOL

 

Status: Realised
Location: Athens, Greece

The study refers to an old factory in the industrial area along Pireos street to house the activities of a new, progressive, open school. The proposal embraces the utilitarian typology of the former factory and through a series of distinct interventions transforms it into a creative educational environment. The existing structure is used as a framework or a background that is appropriated by the school community and its diverse activities. Drawing inspiration from historic school buildings that operate both indoors and outdoors, the goal is to create a variety of open spaces within the school, thus extending educational activities outdoors. Open space runs through the new school complex as a vital space for learning and social interaction: the large courtyard with the stepped seating area, the open-air canopy with skylights, the semi-outdoor corridors, the classroom gardens on the ground floor and the planted roof overlooking the city, all contribute to an open school that breathes.

 

At the heart of the building a large open atrium allows natural light to enter. Inside the atrium a zigzag sculptural staircase goes up from the ground floor to the roof connecting all the floors of the school. On the ground floor, a series of movable dividers integrate the classrooms at will, restoring the single space of the former factory bridge crane as a linear multipurpose hall. An undulating perforated curved wall creates outdoor gardens that offer opportunities for outdoor learning. Natural light and cross ventilation are employed throughout the school in order to achieve a pleasant and healthy microclimate. Open space is present in all aspects of school life and allows itself to be appropriated both by teachers and students in a way that it becomes the most important element in the educational process.