Arts Building at Athens College / Competition Entry
in collaboration with Musa Musa Studio
Arial View – Render by Studio GRiD
The Vision for the new Arts Building for the Athens College Educational Foundation is to create a contemporary, innovative and intriguing architectural design – aiming to spark inspiration and experimentation, enhance creativity and promote alternative thinking. To create an iconic and dynamic space, offering an overwhelming spatial experience and a reference point for ARTS.
The design approach aims to encourage freedom of expression by proposing an innovative and alternative functionality, where Teaching and Learning take place internally and externally all around the building.
Innovation in materials and building techniques complete the proposal to make it a state-of-the-art composition.
The Canyon Area – Render by Studio GRiD
The proposal is conceived as a ‘landscape of experiences’, a flowing fabric where internal and external space is interwoven, boundaries are blurred and all arts and activities come together and interact. An extrovert space of expression, education, socializing and enjoying nature.
The building volume takes the form of an extended natural landscape formation, emerging from beneath the park and reaching out towards the north-east site boundary as an artificial extension. An extension that enhances the continuity of the fabric, integrates effortlessly with the natural landscape and the park, becoming an evolution of the existing condition.
Alternating this flowing gesture, a strong antithesis is proposed on the boundary at the sports facilities, where the building poses a strong, clean-cut transparent front - the entrance to the Arts Building – like a ‘portal’ opening up to the rest of the campus, calling students and visitors to be drawn inside the building.
View from Campus Entrance – Render by Studio GRiD
This artificial landscape becomes corroded by the intense movement and flow of users, carving a passage running through, like a natural stone gets corroded by the rain or a marble step where it is exposed to people footsteps.
Three axis meet and create a ‘pedestrian canyon’: one on the north-west side connecting students from Benakio - the main building of the campus - through an underpassage, a second on the north-east connecting visitors approaching from the main Campus Entrance and a third one connecting through a wide feature staircase to the natural landscape, the Church of St. Demetrios and school facilities on that side.
The canyon divides the project into two buildings: Educational space and Exhibition space. The two buildings seem to melt into the landscape becoming one with the surroundings.
The space created between the two different programmatic volumes - the canyon – becomes the central element of the composition. It generates an introvert central core and activates an internal life for the buildings facing each other - an organic part of activities of the Arts Building. This plaza is where all circulation happens, where students, tutors, visitors and artists meet, rendering it a most vivid space for interaction and social school life.
Art pieces placed freely in the canyon identify it as an Art Space and connect the two opposite volumes. Art exhibitions, event and social gatherings take place in this space, unfolding beautiful views as one move through the composition, between the school and the gallery.
Upper Ground Floor Level
Lower Ground Floor Level
The proposal is integrated both functionally and conceptually into the landscape as if the volumes are emerging from the park and underneath rigorous vegetation and extend towards the sports facilities, creating an entrance – a ‘portal’ opening up to the rest of the Campus. Mediterranean vegetation with low irrigation requirements is proposed, extending from the landscape area to the roof of the structure in the form of a planted roof.
Dance Class View
Design: Degree Zero Architects and Musa Musa Studio
Landscape Consultant: Eleni Mente
Structural Consultants: Ergosystem LTD
MEP and Environmental Consultant: Jepa LTD
Visualizations: Studio GRiD