Usually more than half of any refugee population are children.
The present diploma project investigates the spatial dimensions of hosting and care of early childhood refugee children. The concept regarding the building program, embraces the main clauses and approach of the Guidelines for the Protection and Care of Refugee Children by the UNHCR, issued in 2004. The selected building site is located in the center of the city of Volos, neighboring two existing school complexes.
The necessary spaces for a kindergarten are combined in the project, with a small Community Center for Refugees, enhancing close contact between children and their parents, as well as, members of their community.
The main concept, regarding the architectural form of the building, is based on two spatial elements /patterns that finally defined its physical design. Both are relevant to the structure and morphology of the vernacular Islamic Mediterranean house.
In the proposed building, the structure and form of its volumes point to the typology of the traditional Islamic house with atrium, a building type well adopted to the local climate. Vernacular courtyard houses are well integrated in the organic urban fabric of Islamic settlements. Their plan is defined by the irregular street patterns, while inner courtyards tend to have a more regular orthogonal shape. The outer shell of these houses are pierced by small openings, protected by perforated wooden panels (mushrabiyas) that filter light, contrasting the surfaces of plain walls and protecting the privacy of family life.
These two elements were both deployed in the design of the present project. They determined the actual form of the building volumes and their relationship to the urban fabric, while exterior facades were designed using the idea of small openings protected with perforated decorative wooden panels. Allusions to the vernacular Islamic house are applied freely in the design of the present project, investigating their reinterpretation.
The low- cost interior design, of all needed infrastructure, enhances the feeling of a personal and unique space for the children that will be hosted and cared for in this kindergarten.
The main objective of the project is to provide a viable space for children while improving everyday life for their parents.