Architects: Symbiosis Designs LTD
Location: Amman, Jordan
Project team: Khalid Nahhas, Ramiz Ayoub, Randa Abu Rayyan, Khalid Shannak, Nisreen Al Far, Nidaa Tayyem, Jawad Hamdan, Lina Asa’d, Faiha Khazna Katbi, Onur Lambaz, Amira Qattawi, Ramiz Abu Mahfouz, Katrina Najjar, Abdel-Qader Tarabieh, Widyan Al Khaldi
Structural engineer: DIMCO
Mechanical engineer: Spectrum Mep. Consulting Engineers
Electrical engineer: Spectrum
Project area: 105,000 sqm
Project year: 2009
Photographs: Zooey Braun, Osman Akuz, Ghassan Aqel
The IAA is a new fresh perspective on the educational built environment. It is a leap forward from a utilitarian building type to an intrinsically didactic environment that holds emotional equity, identity and intuitive purpose beyond the text books and the classrooms.
Age related themes that complement education are integrated in the gardens of this community-village configuration of buildings. Themes begin with laughter and kinder-ship gardens and end with introspective moon watching and the profundity of legacy gardens. At the gates, four giant sculptures stand within a designed garden representing the core values of the school. Deep red cherry trees are planted sporadically to offer shading for the stone benches beneath as well as visually demark the start of the “garden village”. The administrative building, at the school gate, offers a colorful art gallery in its initial entrance zone appeasing the typical overwhelming institutional feel most schools project.
All buildings through their forms, materials, and natural light project dual expressions; old vernacular heritage at one end and modern progressive at the other extreme. The stone, as a primary material, is used in two different languages, cut roughly and assembled densely to reflect the vernacular expression; while on the other reciprocal opposite, stone is cut sharply and laid out seamlessly to reflect modernity in unison with the more current steel shading louvers installed at the furthest edge of the same façades.
All buildings’ skylines unite in expression through their wind catching towers. The towers, not only ground the buildings with their visual weight, but they also contribute to the rigor of rhythmic play needed in such expansive internal spaces and environment. The wind towers are the insignia of the IAA. While they pay respect to the environment by utilizing passive energy, they are also a new architectural reinterpretation of the traditional tower expressed in a solemn manner unique to the school. The stone projects a sense of longevity and timelessness, while the wooden louvers give warmth and subtle articulation needed to express sophistication and attention to detail as spirits the school stands for. Internally, the wind towers present interruptions with offerings of natural light, natural breeze and water fountains – pleasant demarcations along the expansive internal circulation.