A School in the Forest

National Concept Design Architectural Competition for the design of an elementary school with gymnasium, Municipality of Neapoli, Agios Pavlos/Sykies, Thessaloniki, Greece.

The building complex consists of two distinct programmatic units, comprising the spaces of the elementary school and of the municipal sports hall. Rather than their explicit contrast, the systematic reciprocity of the above programmatic units constituted an essential design decision. The placement of the central courtyard on top of the sports hall achieved the formulation of a big, open space for the school recess and play. Along these lines, the composition acquired a constituent hub, while the overall open spaces of the school complex are not dissolved into smaller units. At the same time, the two programmatic units merge into one single entity in the two levels of the sports hall, allowing for the uninterrupted circulation of students, visitors, and athletes through a sequence of indoor spaces that cross all the spaces of the building.

The split of the complex into two volumes – L and U shapes – permits the separation of the extended programmatic demands into the very limited surface of the given plot. This split and the consequent rotation of the two shapes achieves their arrangement according to the optimal orientation, while at the same time creates an opening towards the city. This double operation (split/rotation) allows for a choreographed array of plateaus, openings, and passages as “diaphragms” that formulate and filter movements along the open spaces of the school, and its potential linking with the adjacent open-air theatre. This passage widens in its midpoint, located in the centre of the U-shaped volume, and leads to the large, sheltered platform/balcony of the elementary school, which frames the view to the city of Thessaloniki.

Theodossis Issaias
Platon Issaias
Giannantonis Moutsatsos
Alexandra Vougia
Giorgos Gougas and Partners / Budget and Development Consultants
Ilias Matsas / Mechanical Engineer
Alkimos Papathanasiou / Civil Engineer
Architecture, Collective Equipment, Education, Energy, Housing, Infrastructure, Provision, Sustainability


Fatura Collaborative – Research & Design Practice, was founded in 2009 and is developing projects across a wide range of scales, from intimate objects and performance, to architecture, urban design and planning. We are interested in architecture as social infrastructure, in developing collective equipments, in the design of spaces of care, empathy and welfare. We design and research expanding new problematics about ecology, the domestic, everyday life and the city.



is an architect and researcher based in London. She studied architecture in Patras, Greece, and currently is a PhD candidate at the School of Architecture at the Royal College of Art in London. Her research focuses on the intersections between social movements and the state apparatus, and centers around the ad-hoc infrastructures created for welfare provision during periods of crisis. She has practiced architecture in the UK and worked in the housing, healthcare, and education sectors in collaboration with public authorities and established architectural practices. Prior to London, Elisavet gained experience as an architect in Athens and Madrid.


is an architect, researcher, and educator. He studied architecture in Thessaloniki, Greece, and holds an MSc from Columbia University and a PhD from TU Delft and The City as a Project research collective. He is the director of Projective Cities MPhil programme at the Architectural Association, where he is also teaching Diploma Unit 7 with Hamed Khosravi. Previously, he has taught at the Berlage Institute (Netherlands), in the MArch Urban Design programme at the Bartlett, the RCA, Syracuse University and the University of Cyprus. His research interests explore urban design and architecture in the relation to the politics of labour, economy, law and labour struggles. He has written and lectured extensively about Greek urbanisation and the politics of urban development.


is an architect and educator, and recently joined the Heinz Architectural Center at the Carnegie Museum of Art as Associate Curator. He earned his diploma of Architecture at the National Technical University of Athens and an SMarchS degree from MIT. Since 2009, he has been practicing as a founding member of Fatura Collaborative, an architecture and research collective. His PhD dissertation, “Architectures of the Humanitarian Front” (Yale University), explores the nexus of humanitarian organizations and architecture and their relation to conflict, displacement and the provision of shelter.


is an architect based in Lund, Sweden. He graduated in 2010 from the School of Architecture of the National Technical University of Athens and holds an MSc in Energy Efficient and Environmental Building Design from the School of Architecture of Lund University (2015). He has practiced architecture as a freelance architect in Greece and currently in Sweden (eg. Tengbom architects), where he works on a wide range of projects including small houses, larger residential complexes as well as care, educational and industrial facilities.


graduated in 2007 from the School of Architecture of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece. She holds the MSc in Advanced Architectural Design from GSAPP, Columbia University (2008). In June 2016, she was awarded the degree of Doctor of Philosophy by the Architectural Association. Her thesis dealt with the transition towards abstraction in art and architecture during the end of 19th and early 20th centuries, with an emphasis on interwar architectural modernism in Germany. Alexandra has been teaching at the AA since 2012, where she is currently a studio master in the First Year Studio of the Experimental Programme and a Programme Coordinator and Course tutor in the MArch Architecture & Urbanism (DRL) programme. She has practiced as an architect in New York and Athens.