The mice-ate-the-door library

  • Project Architect: Natalia Bazaiou Tina Vardalachou Anastasia Noukaki
  • Date: 2019
  • Location: Exarcheia, Athens

Advisor: Babis Baltas (35th Primary School Teacher)

(Athens Superscript:

Client: 35th Elementary School of Athens

Date: 2019

Our team organizes actions for elementary school children concerning the city and architecture. Our aim is the interpretation, appropriation and transformation of the urban space from the children’s eye level.

One of our recent actions was designed for a primary school in the burgeoning neighborhood of Exarcheia, which is mainly targeted at refugees (90%) and few neighborhood residents (10%). Despite the difficulties faced in its day-to-day operation of the school, teachers try to incorporate the school life to the city, as a resolution to the contradictions that are facing. Bringing the children into contact with everyday urban issues and cultivate contacts with the neighborhood as a community (shops, professionals, writers, historians, local actors) through Celestin Freinet's educational approach we aim to reinforce all cultural pluralism of the area.

In order to strengthen the school's dynamics to that direction, we have sought as a group of architects to create a new space in school. A space on the border of the inside and outside of the school, on the very limit of the neighborhood and the school yard: A library that will also address both to the students and the children of the neighborhood. We redesigned the back gates of the school converting them into a library and vegetation space. As our aim is to create a spatial game in which plants and books on the threshold of the school are inviting children from both sides to explore it. This action is implemented within the context of the This is Athens-Polis Program.