Landscape planning of 80.000 m2 plot at the Ziridis private school complex at Spata Attica. (1998-2001)
A study for an exemplary school campus located in a mildly inclined roughly triangular plot of c.80.000m2 at Spata Attica. The plot with its triangular pinnacle in the North close to a beautiful naturally planted hill and its wide base in the South is quite favourable. The design concept involved an isolated with dense peripheral vegetation school campus that benefits from an orderly symbolic layout from spiritual and intellectual activities at the very top in conjunction with the natural environment of Attica, and main educational activities below in a structured manner both symbolically and practically. Low-rise construction was legally mandated in this out of town location, but the concept of architecture with natural traditional materials, identifiable volumes representing separate classrooms, mostly with individual roofs, and windows and pergolas all enhancing human scale and being most familiar to young children, that rarely benefit from such an idealized environment in modern urban conditions these-days. The concept of the open campus for young children was quite suitable to the mild Attica climate, but quite strict functional requirements in terms of accessibility in all spaces from appropriate ramps, and quite specific issues of circulation, always in relation to the natural ground in the vast plot, were quickly resolved. The unfortunate long-awaited but unexpectedly unfavourable land-use restriction at the top part of the plot, against assurances already given to the owners, necessitated a non beneficial redesign, to adapt to the new unfortunate reality, bringing the buildings closer together, and resolving once again a variety of functional considerations. Finally important peripheral buildings were not implemented due to financial constraints, and basement spaces, appropriately lighted were provided for the activities that were originally planned to be most favourably housed in the eliminated peripheral buildings.
It is quite unfortunate that the peripheral dense plantings for isolation, the architectural plantings that complemented the design of the buildings and had been planed from the earliest stages, as well as ornamental plantings were also sacrificed in the difficult financial conditions while the project was being financed. In addition the ground floor gardens, to be cultivated by the students in this innovative ecological environment were also sacrificed as the light-wells for the basement spaces eliminated this benefit. Thus although, implemented buildings, road network and parking spots for buses and cars, and the extensive paving network was implemented, the most critical complementary plantings were not.