Atelier3AM places third in a UIA-sponsored competition for an innovative bioclimatic school in Greece

Atelier3AM, a Canadian team led by Taymoore Balbaa and Chris Wong, placed third in an international competition for an innovative, bioclimatic school in Herakleion, Crete, Greece. In placing third out of 134 entries, the team won 10,000 Euros. The rest of the team was comprised of Arne Suraga, Jad Joulji, Talaye Rad, Andrew Lee, Ibrahim Brad Miles, Antony Chieh, Shelton Foo and landscape consultant Fionn Byrne.

The team’s proposal responds to the set objective that all educational units should “constitute an entity, while at the same time be capable of operating independently.” This design separates the three schools into the cluster of buildings, each with its own individual courtyards. The wind can travel through the three buildings for natural ventilation. The village-style layout encourages social activities and creates a familiar environment for younger and older students. The three buildings have a distinctive focus on each stage of education. The shaded courtyards and semi-outside spaces include sliding wooden screens. The building’s formal strategy is based on the strong contrast of materials, and is propelled by the duality of opaque/transparent.

A first prize of 30,000 Euros was awarded to a team led by Greek architect Theodora Kyriafini. The winning design proposal is based around a series of courtyards that act as the core gathering places, in the heart of each school. Natural ventilation and shading is being used to create a comfortable environment. The Cretan tradition is reflected with the use of rough unrefined materials such as stone, rammed earth and timber combined with contemporary techniques and technologies to meet contemporary construction needs.

A second-place award of 20,000 Euros went to another Greek team, led by Platon Issaias, and two honourable mentions of 5,000 Euros each recognized Evangelos Ravanos’s team from Greece along with a Romanian team led by Niculae Grama. The three special non-monetary mentions honoured Athanasios Bampanelos (Greece), Giorgos Mitroulias (Greece) and Klaus Roloff (Germany).

The jury panel looked for designs that included flexible teaching and learning environments that are bioclimatic and eco-friendly, well planned and orientated to the sun and the wind and relate in scale to people and the surroundings. After three days of long and carefully deliberated sessions, which included detailed review of each proposal, the jury panel was unanimous in choosing the five prize-winning entries but also three non-monetary special mentions.

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