Bioclimatic School
Competition Entry 2012
Heraklion, Creta, Greece
Team: Theoklis Kanarelis, Christos Bletsas, Irgen Salianji, Charis Siaravas

The plan was to erect this school complex considering a terrace structure as the best solution to express our respect for the flora and landscape. All educational buildings of the ensemble including individual classroom building of primary school, an auditorium and kitchen-are designed on a connecting base of local stone , thus forming a promenade at the centre of the complex. Local stone is used especially in the first levels because it is resistant to sun, wind and humidity. The dry wall stones surrounding this school complex provide places to sit. Classrooms are constructed out of rammed earth on the upper floors, whereas kitchen and auditoriums are build of concrete.
The crucial factor for minimizing heating and cooling costs was the installation of computer driven natural ventilation with automated window shutters. The shutters are opened or closed depending on sunlight, wind force and wind direction. A central north facing garden is positioned in front of the classrooms, offering cooling in summer months, while roof terrace introduces a strong airflow and ventilation throughout the building. The solid concrete core stabilizes the temperature inside.The distributional and decentralized design of structures on the site creates intervals for the landscape, thus also promoting natural ventilation. Thanks to their east west orientation, the four educational buildings complex can make optimum use of sunlight. An open staircase which crosses horizontally the linear arrangement of the complex connecting all three levels, contributes an easier entrance in the central space of the complex, also ensures that additional light reaches the lowest level of primary school building.
A clerestory connected to the ventilation system assists the building’s environmental strategy. Ingenius ventilation propels air pre-cooled by geothermal systems in the ground throughout the building, so that air conditioning is unnecessary. Thanks to its surpluses in “green energy this school complex is not only a promising model for future educational buildings development, but also for ecological sustainability. The overall complex was designed for high environmental quality. Shafts into the floor create natural air circulation and ventilated chimneys among the central elevators cool the interior spaces as do the overhanging concrete roofs and window openings on the southern side. The challenge was to erect a structure that uses natural ventilation and daylight. In winter, the sun heats up the concrete roof that stores heat due to its own mass. Heat is slowly emitted into the interior of the structure, in particular during the cooler hours at night. In summer the classes benefit from their cooler location on the lower level.
The classroom buildings were orientated in the east-west axis allowing the largest possible window space to face north and south and providing optimal conditions for harnessing the sun’s rays and natural daylight. On the classroom facades, wooden panels have adapted to create a transparent exterior cladding. Some of them can be adjusted according to the position