Located at the heart of one of the greenest suburbs of Athens, the Arts Building signifies many things, including a school established in the twentieth century, an exhibition space, and a space for art education. Our proposal celebrates the union of Education, Art, and Landscape.
The building is composed of two elements; eight rammed earth volumes and a wooden roof that hovers over them, resulting in a powerful sense of continuity through the campus. Our proposal filters the program into spaces that require enclosure, and areas or programs that can enjoy flexibility and meld with one another. The building becomes a filter, a canopy, a space of transition, a melting pot for culture.
The northeastern part of the building is devoted to the Education program. Within the rammed earth masses, we place the library, the lecture rooms, video, music, and dancing. These functions alternate with the studios that enjoy an open plan with views of the exhibition spaces, the landscape, and the courts. Movable furniture can provide alternate scenarios of seating and encl sure depending on the needs of each class. Areas of administration and support, such as circulation, storage and restrooms also occupy parts of the rammed earth volumes, primarily in the mezzanine floor.
The southwestern part of the building is devoted to the Art program. The exhibition areas occupy two of the enclosed rammed earth volumes, while a third one is hosting the cafe. Within these volumes, “white box” spaces that differ in size and height provide multiple possibilities to view and experience art. Natural light enters these spaces from above through skylights and penetrations in the thick earth facades that filter the light and creating an atmosphere of introspection. In the meantime, the exhibition rooms between the rammed earth volumes are less defined, as they expand visually over to the landscape on the one side and the school on the other side, proposing an optimistic union of all three.
As one enters the building from the southwest, one gradually ascends from the entrance to the cafe. The building follows the topography of the surrounding landscape. The continuity from the enclosed areas to the exterior is intensified by the pattern of the circles which expand to the exterior and create the open – air amphitheater, terraces, and other spaces of leisure. There is provision for wheelchair access though ramps all around the building. On the northeastern side the building offers stairs for viewing towards the courts.