Karin Dom Foundation Building

Varna, Bulgaria


Status: Competition

Our proposal for the new Karin Dom building consist of a series of stacked levels connected through a central atrium that acts as the heart of the building, beating to the rhythm of all the activities taking place. The levels are sloped towards the Northwest allowing for usable outdoor terraces along the Southeast. The shape of the building is dictated by existing trees, trying to preserve as much of them as possible. Each terraced level also allows for a direct connection to the outside and views into nature.


Each floor is organized according to the relationship diagram. The connection between each space is provided not by a corridor but instead by open areas that encourage chance encounters and exchange of ideas between users, as well as the ability to develop new social and interaction skills while still being a safe environment for children to learn.  Its simple and clear layout allows for everyone to have the same access to every space. By getting rid of corridors and allowing for central areas, safety and visibility is improved. While each part of the program is able to function independently, by connecting all the floors the foundation beats together as a whole.

The central atrium is heart of the building, when you enter the building you can get a feel of all the activities that take place within the foundation. It works as a light well, ventilation and a connection between floors. The climatic conditions of the city of Varna allows the building to work passively during most of the year. With natural light and cross ventilation, the central atrium allows for hot air to rise through it and exit the building. During the Winter time the atrium exhaust can be closed to keep warm air inside.


Users will be able to travel through the building by walking through open areas instead of restricting corridors. These areas open up to the central atrium and to usable outdoor terraces. Vertical circulation is provided either by a central circulation core next to the atrium or through a series of stairs in every terrace. The usable terraces complement the landscaped ground level.


The structural solution for the building is a simple and straightforward structure of stacked load-bearing walls that support each level. Each area and room is its own private entity while still being part of a whole. Each component of the program can be accessed individually while still being connected to the foundation. Individual access is provided to parts of the program like the Montessori School. 


The building while allowing every area to be highly specialized for each activity allows for a flexible program that can evolve over time. The amount of light and stimuli can be regulated individually through an alternation of opaque walls and transparent glass. The materiality of the building resist wear and tear and its small material palette allows for easiness in construction and keeps its budgetary concerns.

© 2019 by atelier uno

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