Lebanese architect Paul Kaloustian was assigned the design of Children of Armenia Fund’s (COAF) new community and education center in the country’s northern region of Lori.

Children of Armenia Fund (COAF) is a non-governmental organization that works with impoverished rural populations to improve their access to education, healthcare and technological tools. The initiative is responsible for implementing educational, economical and community programmes across Armenia’s rural villages.

COAF Smart Center - Paul Kaloustian

Building site surrounded by majestic mountains. ©Paul Kaloustian

The new COAF Smart Center, currently under construction, will be a technologically-equipped hub focusing on areas such as information and communication technology, arts and music, linguistics and languages, environmental practices, modern healthcare practices, business and civic education.

COAF Smart Center - Paul Kaloustian

Computer labs, classrooms and an auditorium are included in the centre. ©Paul Kaloustian

The structure’s organic form embraces the mountain landscape by creating a sinuous ribbon like walkway that gives shape to a 7000 m2 courtyard. The one floor building is spread horizontally while following the topography of the site.

The Smart Center accommodates computer labs, classrooms, an auditorium and a restaurant while other adjacent facilities include a sports fields, open air workshops and an outdoor auditorium.

A separate structure facing the southern sun, hosts a half underground guest house with 14 rooms and amenities. A second smaller structure includes a day care and a nursery.

COAF Smart Center - Paul Kaloustian

Scheme values a continuity between the inside and the outside space. ©Paul Kaloustian

COAF Smart Center - Paul Kaloustian

The roof extends to outside areas, creating sheltered pathways and living spaces. ©Paul Kaloustian

“The Smart Center acts more like a landscape than a building giving freedom for the visitor to have his own path creating experiences indoor as well as outdoor” explained the architect in a press release.

The building is only partly enclosed by using concrete and mainly glass. The roof extends to outside areas, creating sheltered pathways and living spaces. In doing so, the architect intended to create an equal experience between the inside and the outside space, as if they were interchangeable.

COAF Smart Center is set to be completed by the end of 2016.

Paul Kaloustian

Paul Kaloustian

Paul Kaloustian studied Architecture at Académie Libanaise Des Beaux-Arts and received his masters at Harvard Graduate School of Design. He worked at Herzog & De Meuron in Basel before founding his own office in Beirute in 2002.

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