SALT "Als Diavasume"
The aim of this project is to design a children’s library in the 34th Elementary School of Thessaloniki. The school expressed its need for this library, within the school building. According to the principal, the teachers and the parents union, it is crucial that they have the chance to educate children and provide at the same time incentives that will form their personality, boost their confidence and encourage their imagination. In this school, there are also children with special abilities, who will highly benefit from their substantial interaction with children their age, the furniture, the books and the small surprises that this space will provide.
This project is trying to bridge the gap between plain information and actual education and culture. Children these days are constantly bombarded with new information and knowledge, they are unable to manage and actually benefit from. They have become indifferent for stimuli, such as books and handmade creations, and prefer to spend their day passively in front of tablets and computer screens. The main goal of this project is to design an interactive library space, which will introduce the children to the imaginary world of books, but at the same time motivate them to use technology in a beneficial way.
The design of the library, in general, is influenced by the sea, and this is why the project’s Greek name is “Als diavasume”, which means “Let’s read” with a twist, as Als is the sea in Ancient Greek, from where also derives the salt. So, the “Salt” is compared with the book-knowledge, which is the essence of life.
The project includes 5 interventions. The first one is the façade, which is the way the balcony becomes a closed space, an exploitable space, ready to be used. It consists of two different elements. The first one is the shading system. Greek summer heat can be unbearable and winter can also be really difficult, so adjustable vertical blinds will allow the control of summer sun. The solar shading system will be on the inside of the building. This room is a multifunctional and polymorphic space, so it can be both environmentally conscious (as the child learns that there are more than one ways to heat, cool or lighten up a space) and it is also a game, where children can play with the blades and define their position. The second element of the façade is this section. Along with the blades, there will be some more openings that will visually connect the interior with the schoolyard. Magnifying glasses and distorting lenses will reveal themselves to the users.
The first construction, the "expression corner" will give the opportunity to the students, to gather and talk to each other. The platform will have enough space for two or three children to stand up at the same time and play sketches. This way, they will play roles, express themselves and open up to their classmates. This section will host books for younger ages; fairytales, short stories and picture books.It is important that it be mentioned that, in this school, there are children with special abilities, who use a wheelchair. So it is only right, to take into account this need in the design. The bottom shelf will be used as a storage space, or children will rest their feet while sitting on the structure.
The motivation panel includes some of the most striking examples of Salonica’s history. History is an integral part of these children’s’ everyday lives. They even organized their own tour in the city and each of them chose a monument and searched the internet, read about it, and prepared themselves for a presentation. Each week, they would visit some of them, and the children would talk about their history and answer questions of their fellow students.
The "wave" is a multifunctional construction, as it hosts a lot of different uses. There is enough space for books, storage, for children to relax, and it even has a special space for their shoes. All the furniture inside the library has curved and smooth finishes. This section of the library will host books for all ages, history related, novels, poetry for children and art-related books. Inside the small cylindrical holes, there will be laminated treasure maps and information about history, biology, psychology, and it will operate as an alternative type of education, where the teacher can create riddles, hide information and teach the children through this fun process. One of the first ideas was to create a piece of furniture that would fit inside, other pieces of furniture. Cylindrical seats could be pulled out, desks, and so on.
An addition to the "expression corner" will be a piece of cylindrical furniture, “the tree of life”. This “trunk” will represent the transition of the book to the electronic book. The structure consists of 3 layers. The base pieces, as seats for the children, the main body – the “trunk” that will carry the books, and the foliage, which accommodates the tablet slots. In the 34th primary school of Thessaloniki, tablets already exist inside the classroom and their use is daily. This section will host books for older kids, such as books about science, science fiction, technology, artificial intelligence, etc. The tablets, placed there, will be connected with chargers in the central part of the furniture, so that be ready for usage.