Villa Aimilia, Preschool Courtyard Redesign in Athens

2020 • Area: 1.200sqm • Services: Landscape Design (Concept, Outline, Detail Design) • Photography: Louisa Nikolaidou

Villa Aimilia, a historic Athenian preschool unit established in 1963, has attained an existing educational building in Psychico erected originally in the 1970s, formerly dedicated to children ages 12-18, and required a renovation of the building and the yard in order to accommodate young children at the age of preschool, kindergarten and primary school. Due to programmatic and regulatory requirements, the school yard had to accommodate a basketball court addressed to primary school students, and a playground opted for the children of kindergarten. The two distinct age groups would use the play area during school brakes occurring at different periods within the day. The design aimed to overcome the division of the space created by the distinct uses of the court and the playground, by children of different age and different skills, and blend the two operations in a design that gradually addresses all age groups, from 4 years till ultimately 12 years old, while at the same time providing a safe environment appropriate for all students.  The design of the yard creates an environment that enhances free play, creativity, imagination, and activity based learning.

The main concept was to articulate an architectural vocabulary that is aligned with the scale and the nature of young age and may advance gradually and accommodate growth, both mental and kinetic. The design creates a series of landscape and volumetric events, that children use freely to run/ climb/ crawl/ jump or hide. In a quest for discovery of one's physical limits, experiential explorations become the foundation for activity based learning.

AVW Architecture has designed and supervised the construction of the project in a fast track design and build procedure over a period of 2,5 calendar months, in the midst of the pandemic and during the summer break of 2020 • Architectural Design: AVW Architecture • Authors: Angeliki Athanasiadou, Katerina Vassilakou • Architectural Design Team: Mara Petra, Giannis Galetakis, Annita Klemou, Aristea Talagani, Stella Korina Zaharia • Project Management: Vassilis Dousaitis • Construction: Simbraxis Spau, DPG Constructions