Children of Armenia Fund (COAF) is a non-profit organization, uses community-led approaches to reduce rural poverty, with a particular focus on youth. Since the inception of its programs in 2004, COAF www.coafkids.org has funded and implemented educational, healthcare, community and economic development programs serving more than 28.000 people in rural villages of Armenia.
In 2015, COAF debuted SMART, an unprecedented model for delivering superior and regionally relevant holistic educational programs in rural areas with an emphasis on technology, sustainability, the arts, health, linguistics, business and civic engagement.
The COAF Smart Center is a pioneering model for delivering superior and regionally-relevant educational, social, economical and community programs in rural areas with an emphasis on technology, sustainability, arts, music, modern healthcare and lifestyle, linguistics and languages, business and civic engagement.
Operating as a state of the art, scalable learning and knowledge exchange hub, SMART will implement COAF programs based on models which have charted success in 22 villages in the Armavir and Aragatsotn regions of Armenia over the past decade.
The SMART concept will allow scalability throughout rural regions. Smart campuses will respect the integrity of rural aesthetics in sync with modern architectural design, maintaining the authenticity of the region, while encouraging progressive ideology. Each campus will utilize sustainable and green design, off the grid components and renewable energy.
The currently under-construction Smart Center building is located in the north Armenian province of Lori. The structure’s organic form embraces the landscape by creating a sinuous ribbon like walkway creating a 7000 m2 courtyard. The one storey building is spread horizontally while following the topography of the site.
The Smart Center accommodates a world class from global influencers throughout interconnected virtual classrooms , meeting areas, computer labs for student and youth clubs, an auditorium for performances and presentations , a library and studios for languages, arts and music and a restaurant.
Also it has the capacity to accommodate program participants and visiting collaborators in guest quarters and will feature outdoor activities, indoor workshops and vibrant greenhouses to train and enable developing children and adult villagers alike in regionally relevant skills.
The architecture establishes a new approach regarding landscape and nature, it tries to engage with the scale of the landscape by creating a form that embraces the surrounding and creating ambiguity as it creates an environment more than a building.
The design focuses on architecture and its relation with nature enabling a different view of architecture and the void. The landscape becomes the heart of the project while program is arranged around it enabling a new reading of the built environment as a new nature. Source by Paul Kaloustian Architect.
- Location: Lori Province, Armenia
- Architects: Paul Kaloustian Architect
- Project Team:ShoghagOhannessian, VikenKhatcherian, Nathalie Fatte, Giulia Brembilla, Lara Assaker, YasminaRizkallah
- Structure: Tigran Khachiyan
- Electro-Mechanical: Mangassarian
- Contractor: Kanaka
- Client: COAF (Children of Armenia Fund)
- Built-up Area: 5000 m2
- Date of completion: 2017
- Photographs: Courtesy of Paul Kaloustian Architect
Article by Marco Rinaldi