Fine Arts University Florina

A great university is an institution that promotes learning, but also a space that fosters community and has a civic presence. A great campus is a collection of cutting edge teaching facilities, but also a network of informal gathering spaces that are composed so that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. A great Art School is a finely tuned facility for teaching particular skills and techniques, but also an open and evolving space for experimentation that empowers students to find their own unique voice as artists.

Our proposal for the New Fine Arts School of Florina seeks to simultaneously operate on these three levels – adding to a university, extending a campus, and imagining a new fine arts school. It will be a living institution; fostering contemporary exchange and debate, promoting new futures, and providing a vibrant new civic space for the city of Florina.

The design can be summarized in five primary concepts:
1) The project extends the spatial logics of the existing campus, but also defines a new aesthetic identity for the fine arts school,
2) The project provides four distinct cutting-edge buildings each specifically designed for the program contained within, and then stitches them together with a network of common spaces that create a collective ground level,
3) The project is open, inviting, and porous. It is both inward and outward looking; organizing the life of the school around a central courtyard, but also reaching out towards the surrounding countryside and adjacent campuses,
4) The project is rigorously composed on a regular grid in plan and section that allows for both internal flexibility and future expansion, and
5) The project is built from a robust palette of materials that provide an industrial and neutral backdrop that foregrounds the rich palette of experimentation that will inhabit the space.

Program: School of Fine Arts
4,635 sq.m.
Florina, Greece

Design Team: Ryan Neiheiser, Xristina Argyros, Nikolas von Schwabe, Danae Haratsis, Eleni Vagianou.
Structural Engineers: Palimpsest Architects + Engineers
MEP: Christos Bariamis