Award Cycle:Status:ShortlistedLocation:Damascus, SyriaClient:French Ministry of Foreign AffairsArchitect:Ateliers Lion Associés, Dagher Hanna & Partners, Paris, FranceDesign:2006Size:Ground floor area: 4995 m² - Total site area: 10000 m²Completed:2008
In designing school facilities in this desert climate, the architects opted for natural ventilation, a decision with crucial implications for the morphology of their solutions. The buildings are typically two-storey patio structures each giving onto a small, lush, and sheltered garden. The garden is the building block, creating the microclimate, feeding cool air into the ventilation system through PVC pipes, made to circulate by means of the updraft created by solar chimneys. The walls are double-block for its thermal properties: solid concrete on the inside and concrete breeze-blocks on the outside, separated by an air pocket. The classrooms are arranged in rows on both sides of major axes, in a pattern of alternating buildings and gardens.