The concept of a 50-seat public school in the village of Manasaul, Dagestan, combines two opposing images in one building. During school hours it is a cozy space resembling a family gathering around a hearth and helps students focus on the learning process. Everyone is treated with care and attention here, supported and helped to develop, and the “hearth” is a transforming assembly hall where everyone can gather. Outside of school hours, the space is transformed into a festive home, open to all guests. The combination of these functions forms not just a school, but a special facility that meets the needs of different generations and becomes the main point of attraction for the village of Manasaul.
The foothills of the Gimry ridge form a unique landscape rich in species, diverse flora and fauna. The organization of open and closed spaces, their orientation to the sides of the world create a comfortable internal microclimate with cool shade in the warmer months and protection from winds in the colder ones.
Since the project site is surrounded by low-rise private development, we propose to remain within the same spatial dimensions. The school will integrate harmoniously into the landscape due to the same number of stories as the surrounding buildings, but it will stand out from the general background due to its unique structure and complex textured facade. The unique culture of Dagestan serves as an inexhaustible source of inspiration – the various patterns and architectural elements are embodied in the details of the school in a new reading.
Dagestani historic architecture emphasizes the beauty of local nature through the use of natural materials. The same approach allows the school’s design to seamlessly integrate the building into its surrounding context. Historic architecture mainly used stone, which is complemented by wood in the design. Natural materials are not only relevant in terms of context, but also make the project environmentally friendly – thus, the school provides a quality and safe environment.
Modern trends are aimed at creating shared open transformable spaces. The school in the village of Manasaul will be even more innovative, as it will be able to change not only the space, but also to adjust to the needs of different users. Various modules of the school with specific functional content will be available to both students and older generations outside school hours to learn new professions or hold sports competitions. Social events, especially during the cold season, will take place in the atrium, and the schoolyard will become a site for seasonal fairs and vernissages. The school will be an open, accessible space for all ages to share knowledge, ideas, and emotions.