The Primary School Building Complex of the Ziridis private school at Spata Attica.

As the complex was outside the city limits, 2 storey buildings with basement were only allowed with strict 8.5 m height. Given high ceiling requirements for classrooms & relevant regulations & restrictive functional specifications elaborated after success in competition, the program was dense. A low-budget requirement due to the large scale construction site, was also a given.

Developing for the first time in a private school in Greece, a  widely spread campus with a relaxing academic environment with an emphasis on human scale and soothing isolation in direct contact with Attica Nature was the challenge met by the architect. Furthermore, conceptually developing a hierarchically arranged environment with layers of activities on the inclined plot, from spiritual to artistic- intellectual to earthly and practical, was an additional challenge met most successfully  in the original prototypical design. (see overview of the project). The Primary school complex occupied the third hierarchical level, divided in three separate buildings and playgrounds so that children of different ages have independent school life with no conflict while the younger children were placed closer to the parking areas, to minimise inconvenience, from the open campus approach.

Here too, most emphatically, the design concept , of low-rise symbolically familiar volumes with identifiable classrooms, covered by single roofs, with small windows and pergolas to reduce even further the appearance of height, and make everything appear much more friendly, to its young users that spend a large part of their time within or around the school building. Variety, spreading out of the volumes, natural materials that age well are again the key. Symbolically and practically this school was different, in tune with the life in the open in Attica in the warm and sunny Mediterranean climate. Abstracted classical simplicity and careful study of proportions of volumes and fenestration was again critical.

It is quite unfortunate that most suitable  to the youngest children nursery school was not built, and that quite contrary to the original intensions, the nursery school children were housed in the same (central) building with the youngest children of the primary school. This was achieved through the unfortunate decision of the owners to request an additional basement level in this building complex also, very late during the design process while construction was about to commence. The economic advisors of the owners at this point offered one-sided advice, which was quite contrary to the original idea of a widely spread campus that the designer had proposed and the owner had initially accepted enthusiastically during the competition, permit, and main construction documentation phase. The compromise of the project in this respect was quite unfortunate, sending pupils to far less favourable classroom spaces, but also most critically compromising the nursery school environment.

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