Cultural and Research Center, Chora, Astypalea, Greece
The central concept of the proposal is the integration of secondary buildings and spatial units with already existing spatial receptors, as they are defined by walls, routes, and traces of urban fabric.
The old school will be restored to its initial form, in order to regain the rational clarity of form, typical of its Italian Rationalism characteristics.
The archaeological collection currently on display on the seashore will be sited in the shell of the school; furthermore, there will also be a room for Mycenaean vessels, as well as an exclusive area for the unique infant cemeteries found in the island.
Sections of the perimeter wall will be torn down in two locations on the South side, in order to highlight the clarity of the building mass and restore the connectivity of the South route with the pathways between school and monastery complex and the remaining fabric of the settlement. The undivided dome, corresponding to the 5th elevation of the building according to its view from the castle, will be scaled down to 3 zones created by the placement of a false roof embedded in the parapet for morphological reasons, yet managing to create both a zone of insulation and, at the same time, a zone for electrical horizontal routings, thus succeeding to maintain the interior of the secondary rooms free of any alterations caused by the placement of false ceilings or prohibitory horizontal routings. The building's unique underground hall will be rearranged into a small guest house.
The fortified zone in the lower part of the building, differentiated from the others due to the use of a different watertight and coarser material, will be preserved, while in the South side, this zone will also be combined with the texture of the stonework and the ruins. This way, the school building will be embedded in the flank of the perimeter wall.
All terraces will be preserved, since they are both an essential part of the school and an integral part of its overall architectural design.
The Basketball court is redesigned so that it can become a flowing extension of the upper courtyard area, scaled down into a section featuring spectator benches and the section of the lower dome. At the same time, this design feature reassures the creation of a multiple uses hall right underneath the court, a hall that will provide access to the lower levels, thus becoming a nodal connection point of the Castle with the Northern limits of the settlement towards the side of the cemetery. Furthermore, the area under the main floor can be used as a storage facility for the museum, while it can also be used to house toilet installations for all functional sections of the building.
The area ranging from the School's terraces up until the cemetery wall, previously used as a children's playground, is proposed to house a Bio-anthropology Centre for studying the island's unique and worldwide-renowned archaeological finds. Today, these research needs are hosted in the old school.