The architectural design challenges for the New Pinewood School are focused in three sections:
First to create a school in the 21st century that responds to the demands of modern education. Secondly to incorporate the multicultural element of the students in a local environment and finally its own integration as a whole of the historic premises of American College “Anatolia” of Thessaloniki Greece.
The new school should be a place of gathering, learning, entertainment and to operate as a framework for the development of social skills. The main aim of the educational process is the development of critical thinking; further than the linear way of teaching, which up until now has taken place exclusively in classrooms. In this case, there is the introduction of new spaces into the typology, “the cave spaces”, where students of all levels gather together in order to achieve free communication without the aspects of a conventional classroom.
The multicultural origins of students, require an iconic building invoking architectural elements embedded in diverse cultural models, architectural movements and educational traditions. For this building, this element is the atrium. The school’s walls and circulation surround a square acting as a central focal point, which can be considered a fundamental architectural principle that connects and promotes socializing and entertainment; and can be met in civilizations worldwide. The plan’s symmetry and the practical design of circulation comprise a layout that is easy to understand and navigate in.
Finally, the inclusion of this building in a campus with a predefined structure around a prominent axis of everyday use, requires and inspires the perforation of the new block. The existing axis runs continuously from Macedonia Hall to the football pitch, which becomes wider as it goes through the entrance and the atrium and therefore becomes a newfound opportunity to stop and rest. The submersion of the building helps its unification with the environment as it renders it a ground floor to Macedonia Hall without obstructing its view, as well as part of the tiered seating area in the pitch. A mention of the morphology of the historic building is found in the arches, both in materiality and repetition of the use of stone.
The building was designed to have a reduced environmental footprint and provide climate comfort to its users in a natural way.
Based in Thessaloniki, Athens and London, Urban Soul Project is one of the biggest architectural practices in Greece. USP is a multi-awarded architecture firm and design studio offering services ranging from architecture, interior design, planning applications and municipal approvals for hospitality, offices, commercial and residential projects in Greece and abroad. With a wide spectrum of more than 40 skilled professionals, USP is an experienced firm in complex planning permissions that has handled numerous renowned projects, especially in listed buildings around Greece.
406 Architects is an architectural design office established in 1974 in Thessaloniki, Greece with a wide range of residential, commercial, urban and landscaping projects. The firm consists of architects, structural and mechanical engineers that combine their knowledge and experience, and learn from one another, to produce fully integrated design solutions.