Deep in the forested mountains of the Armenian town Dilijan—colloquially called “Little Switzerland”—stands the country’s first BREEAM-certified structure: UWC Dilijan College. London-based Tim Flynn Architects designed the international school to work in harmony with the environment. Green roofs and living walls made from native vegetation cover large sections school’s main academic building to beautify the structure and tie the building back to its surroundings in the National Park of Dilijan.
The environmentally friendly UWC Dilijan College earned an international BREEAM “Good” rating for its design, but also focuses on encouraging collaborative learning and promoting self-motivated learning with attractive and welcoming architecture. A natural materials palette integrates the modern academic structures into the natural environment. Armenia’s famous local tufa limestone was used as the main building material and is complemented by 4,750 square meters of landscaping on the wavy, mountain-inspired roofs and 1,500 square meters of living green walls on the facade. Non-standard lawn and native plants were used to vegetate these areas so that the building will change appearance as the seasons change.
The main school building is broken into small sections and contain the administration building, general classrooms, science and art block, and the learning center with the library, IT department, and group presentation rooms. Though modern in appearance, the use of textured masonry, red roofs, and overhanging balconies bring to mind traditional vernacular architecture. The interior is filled with natural light and centered around two atria. Since UWC Dilijan College is built in a seismically active zone, the school is designed with earthquake resistance in mind. A drainage system was installed on-site and retaining walls were built to protect against landslides.
Images by Daniil Kolodin