Foundation of Research and Technology, Hellas
(Forth), Heraklion 1987-94

     This is the main building of the new FORTH campus and Science and Technology Park. It is situated outside the Heraklion, adjacent to the new campus of the University of Crete.
    The Foundation was established ten years ago under the name of 'Research Centre of Crete'. It was then a research wing operating in close association with the university (most of its founding members are on the Faculty). In subsequent years it has acquired a national and international stature, which is now reflected in its expanded role and change of name, to FORTH. The Foundation comprises seven institutes; four are accommodated in this complex in Heraklion, the remaining three in Rethymno, Patra and Thessaloniki. The centre is the first of its kind in Greece, and its construction has been partly financed by the Mediterranean programmes of the European Community.
    The natural landscape and splendid views of the mountains and the Mediterranean have contributed to the genesis of the concept. As with the other campus buildings designed by the architects, a conscious attempt has been made to establish a strong relationship with the place (topos). Consequently, the four buildings are organised along a street galleria (dromosstoa}. They are, in succession, the institutes of Molecular Bioloy and Biotechnology; Electronic Structures and laser Technology; Computer Science; and Computational Mathematics.
    The juxtaposition of diverse forms seeks to evoke the memory of buildings, spaces and images from the classical and vernacular architecture of Greece and the Mediterranean.
    Three of the four buildings are on the same level as the galleria: the fourth is lowered in keeping with the natural slope of the site so that its roof becomes a large terrace, furnished with an open theatre and pergola. The galleria, 75 metres long and 15 metres high. lies on axis with the mountain range. It is the major circulation and social space of the project - an urban 'connector' structuring a complex based on the idea of a 'citadel-agora' which celebrates, as in ancient Greece, the unity of nature and man, space and horizon.
    The structure is in reinforced concrete throughout. Walls are of concrete and clay blocks with aluminium windows and glass blocks. Floors are covered in marble in the public spaces and special vinyl in the laboratories.
    The protect was designed in 1987 and completed in December 1993. It was undertaken in association with the Technical Office of the Ministry of Industry, Research and Technology and the technical staff of FORTH.

Photos: Ch Louzidis assisted by E Panousi
Below: Axonometric