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Round School

Agios Dimitrios, Athens, Greece
Top down view
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Top down view
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The high school at Agios Dimitrios, Athens, Greece (also known as the Round School) is the work of Takis Zenetos, visionary architect and urban planner. It was designed between 1969 and 1972, and completed in 1974. The Modernist aims of innovation and social change through architecture guided his work. Takis Zenetos wanted to design an unconventional school, a futuristic symbol of an evolving curriculum, and a springboard for new approaches in education.

The foremost new principle founded within the architecture is educational autonomy. Its curves disrupt the sea of high rise blocks that surround it : this is an empowering environment of uniqueness and self-determination, and an anti-hierarchical symbolism designed to unclutter the young minds from the institutional architectural cues usually met in education. This message hasn't been lost to several generations of students when reminiscing with pride of their journey of learning at the Round School.

The Round School is also designed to evolve with time and technology. The frame of the building accommodates a series of glass panelled classrooms which are designed to easily change in size and scope, following the evolution of educational needs. The central area is not merely a courtyard for breaks : underneath it there is a gymnasium and assembly space. Takis Zenetos imagined that high technology would eventually transform this central drum into a high tech node, a communications centre with audiovisual and communications equipment linking up all constituent parts of the school with each other but also with the greater community. This is a dream that hasn't failed to materialise as years went by : the courtyard is frequently used as a performance space or even a summer cinema, bringing pupils, staff and the community together in extracurricular activities.

The rotunda revolves around its foundational web, and matures in tandem with time and technology. The circular frame of the building accommodates a series of glass panelled classrooms which are designed to easily change in size and scope, anticipating the evolution of the educational needs. The characteristic concrete blinds on the circular roof allow the right amount of sunlight in the classrooms. The central patio area is not merely a courtyard for breaks: underneath it there is a gymnasium and assembly space, planned to accommodate future technologies. Takis Zenetos imagined that advances in science would eventually transform this central drum into a high tech node, a communications centre where electronic audio-visual equipment linking up all constituent parts of the school with each other but also with the greater community. This is a dream that hasn't failed to materialise as years went by: today, the Round School is an IT equipped, wi-fi networked modern school. Its courtyard is frequently used as a performance space or even a summer cinema, bringing pupils, staff and the local community together in extracurricular activities.