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The architectural bureau  CEBRA (Denmark) is the winner of the international architectural contest for the design of the educational complex "Smart School" with a village for foster children in Irkutsk. 


The focus of CEBRA's architectural concept is a flexible combination of students' own initiative, their curiosity, learning process and  play  with school-organized activities, a sense of security and care. The  form of a circle expresses the idea of ​​the unifying community. Its centre becomes a cornerstone and receives special status and emphasis. The conceptual solution of Smart School in Irkutsk is a rich educational environment with a smooth transition between the internal and external spaces. School life will take place not only on specially designated premises, but also in open areas inside and around buildings.





"In  developing Smart School in Irkutsk we follow the principles of creating "open", "multifunctional" and "transformable" premises. A lot of research show the influence of architecture on the learning process. In addition, the number of schools in the country is to increase in the upcoming years, and it  makes sense to build fundamentally new buildings based on  international experience and research in this field," commented Mark Sartan, the head of the Smart School project.


The contest for the development of the Smart School educational complex  architectural concept aimed at involving the best architects from all over the world in the process of creating educational environment that meets the modern goals of education and the concept of Smart School. Moreover,  goal-oriented work with orphans required the development of a separate settlement for foster families. The tendency towards individualization and the variability of education was to be crystallized in architecture  providing pupils and teachers with the maximum choice of both spatial connections and functional load.


The architectural concept of the winner was considered the best by the expert jury in the process of technical evaluation of the participants' proposals based on the following criteria: layout of the planning organization, transport solutions, area balance (territory), total structural volume, area balance (objects), effective area by zones.


The highest  rating of the submitted project is based on  nine most important  aspects (town planning, planning structure, landscape solutions, educational process support, engineering and design solutions, educational institutions interior design, work with orphans, compliance with town planning, construction, hygiene and sanitary norms, cost). It helps to implement all the most important principles of the "Smart School" and take into account the individual characteristics of students.




"In Russia, one of the largest and most unique projects in the architecture of educational complexes is being carried out. Incredible popularity of the contest among the most famous architectural bureaus of the world helped us to get breakthrough ideas and the jury really was spoilt for choice," said Tina Kandelaki, member of the jury and  initiator of the Smart School project. - Based upon the sketches of the contestants, the idea that we have been cherishing for several years will be brilliantly put into practice: there is simply no other project like that in Russia". 


An important partner and organizer of the competition was  Strelka Institute for Design and Architecture, which made it possible to form a pool of international participants who offered fundamentally new concepts that differ from the typical Russian school architecture.  We used to believe that the student should adjust to the teaching methodology, now we know that  teaching is  efficient only when adjusted to the student. "We are inspired by the victory in the international contest for Smart School. It will allow us for the first time in Russia to carry out the concept of Smart School to rethink educational space as a school-park that interacts with the  community and the modern world. All children are different and need a learning environment that can take into account different educational situations and needs.  Smart School in Irkutsk is a smart choice," says Flemming Svendsen, chief architect of CEBRA.




Smart School is an incubator of ideas, technologies and practices of introducing life choices principles into the system of school education. Currently, the project is  developing in three directions:  teaching activities, methodological work and the construction of the educational complex with a village for foster families in Irkutsk. The Smart School experts conduct practical seminars and trainings for teachers, social services workers, students and volunteers, develop modern pedagogical methods and approaches to teaching. Top  Russian education experts are partners of the project. Since 2014, 12 educational seminars have been held by Smart School with more than 960 participants.


The architectural bureau CEBRA (Denmark) is founded by three Danish architects: Mikkel Frost, Karsten Prindal and Kolya Nelson. The company promotes a multidisciplinary and research approach to architecture. It means that before working on each new project, CEBRA team studies the historical, sociological, economic and other factors in which the building will exist. Its works are known all over the world. In 2006, the Bureau received the Golden Lion of the 10th Venice Biennale of Architecture for the best national pavilion. In 2015, the residential complex "Iceberg" was awarded the prestigious title "Building of the Year by the online magazine ArchDaily. The completed projects of the company include a lot of schools, educational centres, kindergartens.  CEBRA approach  to educational buildings  design is based on the idea that  architecture  must be adjusted to students, and not vice versa. CEBRA strives to design educational environment that is guided by individual needs and interaction between individuals in the  group.



Фото: CEBRA architecture 

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