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Research Centre Of Crete and University Of Crete
Heraklion 1985-90

     The siting and organisation of the complex have been determined by its proximity to the first building of the university and by its mediating role with regard to future expansion.
     The first building, a prefabricated system-like structure, addressed only the urgent space needs of the newly formed university. No attempt was made to create a 'place' or even to anticipate growth. This original nucleus will therefore play only a secondary role vis--vis the Research Centre.
     The new campus is situated on the outskirts of the city of Heraklion, approximately one mile from the ancient palace of Knossos. Although Knossos is not visible from the site, its presence as a point of reference was established by combing three buildings in a sequential manner along the axis that connects it with the Venetian port and Athens.
     The organisational concept evolved from the need to create a 'civic place' in an otherwise physically disorganised and visually chaotic environment. The strong formal resolution of the complex is intended to set up the process of a more orderly urbanisation not only of the nucleus of the university, but of the area as a whole.
     The Research Centre can be read both as one building and as a cluster of independent buildings with an urban-like intensity. It represents a threshold to any future expansion on the eastern boundary of the site.
     The courtyard building has offices for professors and researchers on two levels and laboratories in the basement. The cluster-galleria building contains computer facilities on the ground floor and administrative offices above. The rotunda building has seminar and meeting rooms on the ground floor and a library above.
     The Heraklion Museum has on display some tiny plaques portraying 'Minoan residential fenestration'. This has been reinterpreted and woven into the elevations of the courtyard building. The formal aspects of the buildings refer to or synthesise Greek and Italian paradigms of building types and materials. In many ways the organisation of the complex evokes the memory of The Renaissance, which Greece never had.
     The complex was designed initially for the Research Centre of Crete and completed by the University of Crete, now part of FORTH (Foundation of Research and Technology. Hellas). The project was undertaken in association with the Technical Office of the University of Crete.


Collaborators : Alek Zarifian. A Lukaitou.
Model: William Lippens
Below : Axonometric