School design has been pushed into the center of a heated national debate in the United States with a vocal minority calling for the 'hardening' of schools — enhanced security measures aimed at turning educational facilities into fortresses — and thus further disconnecting their spaces from public life and their surrounding social fabric.
Meanwhile in Europe, an architectural proposal suggesting an opposing approach just won a competition and will create three new public schools that are specifically designed to stay open every day of the year, 24 hours a day, and promise to be welcoming to students of any age — becoming neighborhood beacons with an expanded social and cultural mandate.
Stefano Boeri: “The school must be open to a new rhythm of life. It must be an active place in all the hours of the day, every day of the year, for everyone, at all ages: grandparents, young people, local associations, creative enterprises, institutions. The open school is the heart of our society, that beats together with the life, that flows in and around it. The new school hosts meetings, discussions, dialogues for associations without head offices. It opens the doors to those seeking a space to start a social and cultural venture. It welcomes book clubs and organizes courses to explore the most intriguing, bizarre and extreme depths of knowledge.”
Prject Manager Francesca Cesa Bianchi summarizes the 'manifesto': “The three new schools of Tirana will have façades in red brick and white bases in cement (a combination of materials that harkens back to the tradition of Italian architecture in Tirana) and will function as a local epicenter, as a new reference point of the public life of the area. Our schools will be the true urban squares of the neighborhoods, used by students during school hours, and by the community on weekends and holidays.”
"The project of the Schools for Tirana extends over a total surface of 29,609 m2. It is composed of the Don Bosco School Complex, with nursery, pre-school education, middle school and high school (9,812 m2), the Kodër-Kamëz School Complex, with nursery, preschool education, middle school and high school (11,898 m2), and the Shqiponja School Complex, with nursery, pre-school education and middle school (7,898 m2)."
Location: Tirana, Albania
Client: PPP Agikons Construction Company – Municipality of Tirana
Architecture: Stefano Boeri Architetti
Partner: Stefano Boeri
Project Director: Francesca Cesa Bianchi
Project Leader: Carlotta Capobianco, Jacopo Colatarci, Julia Gocalek, Team: Jona Arkaxhiu, Orjana Balla, Daniele Barillari, Moataz Faisal Farid, Yulia Filatova, Paolo Russo, Mario Shilong Tan, Elisa Versari
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