The proposal concerns the reuse of a former school, situated in the center of the city of Larissa, within an important cultural zone containing a public theater and an extended school complex. The existing building is a typical example of the regulatory institutions (schools, hospitals, and prisons) designed in the 20th century, with the morphologic characteristics of a compact and rigid structure, organized around an enclosed atrium.
Reconstruction of a pre-existing private school into an Institute of Vocational Training in the city of Larisa, Greece.
Our design strategy is based on the reasoning of “palimpsest”, highlighting the existing structural and architectural elements of the building, thus avoiding the practices of “blank canvas” or deconstruction. Our main objective is the creation of a contemporary school, based on the idea of "extroversion", using the following strategies: (a) blurring the boundary between the facades of the building and the public space of the city and (b) activating the central atrium.
An inner "explosion":
The atrium, located in the center of the building, is redesigned as part of a new transversal axis that connects the “heart” of the building with the public space and the street. The reception, the foyer and the main entrance become the next notional segments of this type of extension that cancels the former “hortus conclusus” characteristics. Furthermore, the existing rigid shell of the building opens towards the street, allowing the visual contact of the students with the city.
An outer "explosion":
The addition of new architectural elements to the facades integrates the building to the city in terms of urban morphology, creating an interesting rhythm and working cohesively to the built environment. Enhancing the concept of movement, pause and dialogue with the city, the additions contribute to the geometrical appropriation of the space by the users but also to the external observers’ perception of the building as a whole.
A modern school is formed, posing a question about the way we interpret the present and the future through the past.