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Architecture / Landscape / Urban Design
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One Big Roof

Historically rich and culturally diverse, the island of Crete has long been a melting pot of different backgrounds. Though the island invites ethnic and religious variety, they are distinct and somewhat separated from each other. With the site of the school being on the main confl uence point of the Eastern and Western parts of the islands, the school provides an excellent opportunity for the design of the school to further the idea of providing one roof for social interaction and learning - a point of connection and bonding.
Traditionally, students of different educational levels would be housed in separate blocks. However, we felt that greater interaction amongst the levels would provide valuable learning experiences and encourage a greater sense of solidarity, thus creating a more conducive environment. Though the design strives to create a space of connection, we understand that the different academic levels would call for different programmatic requirements and aims to approach these issues through the mass of the building form. The mass of the school follows a curved form which allows a subtle internal division of space with bridges and platforms linking the parts as well as providing interaction points for the students.


The form of the school not only allows for interior divisions, it also responds to the undulations of the Crete landscape. The roof of the school tries to induce a culturally familiar form, a boat, reminiscent of the boat of the brave hearted sailing to the island to face the fearsome Minotaur.
Another driving design factor for the school is the implementation of passive sustainable strategies. Through the use of curtain walls, the interior of the building can be naturally lit with daylight. Solar panels have also been incorporated into the building skin to take advantage of the sunny Mediterranean weather to reduce energy cost. The roof of the school has become a vital element, serving as a symbol of the boat as well as to strengthen the idea of a community under one roof. More than just symbolic, the roof houses a green garden to reduce heat from escaping during the colder weather, as well as has a rain water collection system which is used for the sanitation and landscaping needs.
This design ultimately creates an environment of community and connectivity in a multi-faceted society, utilizing its historical and cultural heritage as well as striving to move ahead with technology.