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  • Snowflake
  • Snowflake
  • Snowflake
  • Snowflake
  • Snowflake
  • Snowflake
  • Snowflake
  • Snowflake
  • Snowflake
  • Snowflake
  • Snowflake
  • Snowflake
  • Snowflake
  • LOCATION: KOMMUNARKA, MOSCOW, RUS
  • CLIENT: MASSHTAB
  • SIZE: 30.000 m² NEW BUILDING
  • YEAR: 2014
  • STATUS: COMPETITION PROPOSAL – CLOSED
  • ARCHITECT: CEBRA
  • LANDSCAPE ARCHITECT: CEBRA
  • ENGINEER: NIRAS

The proposal for a new comprehensive school near Moscow is based on a hybrid concept that combines the qualities of a single building with the qualities of a village – the Buillage. In the following steps the concept is refined and adapted to the site-specific programme, which consequently leads to a clear-cut and complete architectural expression – The Snowflake.

The project joins three building typologies in one circular form by organizing them in three individual sections and gathering them under one roof. The three overall programs – boarding, teaching, sports – form a village, where three neighbourhoods, each with their individual identity and atmosphere, meet around the central plaza and form a variety of streetscapes in between them.

In order for the Buillage concept to result in a compact and inviting building volume with a clear identity, we have formulated a unique and project specific formal language, which is able to describe the transfer from a large scale building and landmark to a readable and applicable human context without confusing changes of scale.

From a distance the new school appears as a recognizable, circular form, i.e. a cohesive building complex that possesses an almost iconographic profile. At the same time the school interacts with its surroundings without intruding on them. Once you get closer, the overall iconic form dissolves into smaller, self-contained, easily understandable units.

From this morphology derives the organisation of the building plan, which takes the shape of a stylised snowflake. The snowflake’s determined geometry provides an easily recognizable system with fractal properties, which can be down-scaled into a diversity of spaces or “branches”. The three typologies – dwelling, learning, playing – and the spaces in between them form the snowflake’s six arms, which meet in the central heart space. The three typologies’ internal disposition of functions forms the smaller branches and jags.

Each typology is covered by a roof surface, which uses different directions of pitched roofs. The ridges meet over the open spaces between the typologies and run towards the outer edge to form gables, which gives the façade a varied expression and accentuate the building’s access points. At the intersections of the ridges the roof surface is opened by a series of incisions in order to provide the interior with optimal direct and indirect daylight conditions.