School of Architecture, Damascus University, Damascus, Syria [1976 - 1980].
Syrian Architects: Nofal W. El Kasrawy and Burhan Tayara of the Arab Planners, Architects and Engineers office.
The reinforced concrete building consists of a multi-purpose zoning program; comprising of the schools' studios, classrooms and workshop spaces. A more administrative zones consists of offices, a restaurant and other services including the kitchen.
The building form shows three bulky masses where each makes a use of a different structural system aimed to serve serve as a demonstration to the students of the potential of the structural members. The structural systems used were chosen upon the function of space and its spatial needs - regarding the floor height and double/false ceiling application.
Economic methods of construction were adopted as the building was fully built in concrete without the use of any expensive rendering or finishing materials. The walls and roof of the building are painted while the structural members were left in bare-concrete.
The building's modernity was expressed in the use of bulky inclined retaining walls between the three masses of the school complex; however the interior stands out among the architects' work where it takes the design to a whole new level of spatial complexity. The massive building envelope encloses a double height facility with a multi-storey hallway. The brutalist modernity was not only visible in the building's exterior, but in the interior as well where the structural supporting pillars are placed transparently inside the building's space expressing the gentle marriage between the concrete and glass. The architects used methods to control the spatial experience of the massive interior through the use of stepped false ceiling and inclined envelope facade.
Images courtesy: the architects via Aga Khan Award for Architecture