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.
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.
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.
“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.