Studio Class at UC Berkeley
Studio Class at UC Berkeley

The Drop – Collaborative Workspace

This project was developed by Andreas Lernis as a student from Frederick University and was submited to the WAS awards 2017 under the Facilities category.

The requirement for the studio for which this project was prepared was for the designing of a collaborative, start-up orientated workspace situated in the traditional village of Pera Orinis in the Nicosia district of the island of Cyprus. The plot provided for the project was on a gradated incline of a height of approximately 8m from what was identified as ground level. Additional requirements for the project included provision for live-in facilities.

The village itself has a long traditional history, spanning a few hundred years, and largely consists of housing which retains the traditional village architecture which characterizes rustic Cyprus. This involves primarily stone and mortar with wooden roof houses which include a range of bioclimatic features such as byzantine arched covered yards and variable apertures incorporated in the walls facilitating Venturi effect driven natural ventilation.

Of additional importance are the nearby river bed which runs to the south of the village and the Tamasos ruins situated within 500m to the southwest. Tamasos is thought to have been inhabited in the 8th century BC though there is speculation that it was founded by Trakofryes around 4000BC. The most preserved aspects of these ruins are a couple of subterranean tombs, wholly stone built, and accessed through a steep set of descending stairs.

The nearby river bed and the declining axial tomb layout inspired certain key features of the final design as the overall structural form (and name) were derived from simulating a water drop elongating along the two neighbouring structures to the north entrance of the plot and spreading out towards the river bed which was key to sustaining the village in the past. A descending axis is designed to provide an uninterrupted path to the largest open square of the structure, inspired by the Tamasos tomb.

Finally, the distribution and arrangement of the workspaces was inspired again from an interpretation of organisms within a drop of water but further refined to adhere to a system of gradated private to public and collaborative zones.