Europe is the amalgamation of nations with different characteristics and aspirations that share common goals regarding the progress and prosperity of their people. Maintaining individuality within an organized whole, the European edifice is a diverse unity that encourages freedom of movement and exchange of ideas and knowledge between people and organizations. Equally, the principle of an educational institution is to promote individual development and progress and urge interaction between students while reassuring the smooth operation of the whole according to specific rules and regulations.
A cluster of building blocks that coexist within the field of olive trees at ground level incorporating as much as possible of the natural landscape of Crete into the school grounds. The blocks, like islands, each one with specific geometry and form depending on use, form a broken totality, an archipelago, where open space, the Cretan land, becomes the unifying element. This functional and formal diversity of the blocks addresses the multicultural aspects of Europe, while the open space in between produces a uniform terrain that accommodates school life and enables uninterrupted movement, a labyrinth of possibilities and alternatives.
The variety and informality of the ground floor becomes order and discipline expressed through the organization of the classrooms and office spaces into linear blocks. The linear blocks bridge over the islands and the open spaces at ground level grouping together all the spaces that will eventually form the individual programmatic school entities.
The changing views through the complex depending on movement and the angular geometry of the buildings, the altering of soft and hard landscaping, the play of shadows on the building blocks as well as the olive trees as reference points within the landscape, produce a dynamic environment where random encounters create a sense of place and a unique experience of the spaces within a Mediterranean realm.
A uniform shading system was designed to cover the need for solar protection of the classrooms. It consists of horizontal and vertical elements inspired from the symbols of linear B,one of the first writtings of the ancient minoan civilization. The system is organized in typical panels that create a continuous shading mesh in which the depth of either the horizontal or the vertical elements alters depending on orientation. The elevation of the mesh remains unchanged thus becoming a unifing element for the complex.
EUROPEAN SCHOOL COMPLEX, CRETE, (HONORABLE MENTION)
HEALTH + EDUCATION
Evangelos Ravanos, Stella Mermiga, Dimitris Sofos, Nantia Karampogia, Pari Manari