Atelier PRO designs new boarding house in Moscow

South of Moscow in the slope ice age landscape, atelier PRO architects will design a new boarding house for the International School Letovo. When the Soviet Union fell apart more than 25 years ago, education more or less remained in the old system. That was reason to look for a radical change for innovative education. This initiative came from entrepreneur and benefactor Vadim Moshkovich. His idea was to set up a school for talented children from all over Russia. Every child should have access to the very best education, regardless of the financial means of the parents. A group of passionate people from the world of education conducted research in ambitious educational programs that help young people in the personal development of 21st century skills.


Campus Letovo School Moscow
And so in 2018 the 20 hectare high end school campus Letovo School, also designed by atelier PRO, in the new district of Moscow, Sosenskoye was created. The school campus has a variety of facilities for education, housing, sports and recreation. The inauguration proceeded in stages and by now there are a thousand students. The great demand for innovative education was evident as shown by the great number of applications. This exceeded expectations and demanded more housing capacity. At this International School many students are housed internally because they come from far. A new residential building for students had to be added.

Not an average boarding house
The new boarding house is a hub for 327 children of the senior grades aged 15 to 18. The design is tailored to the wishes of young people in the development phase towards adulthood.  The boarding houses of Letovo have standard rooms with four children. But because young people in this age group have greater need for privacy, the rooms are designated for one or two people. The whole residential building is more spacious. On all floors there are apartments where the caretakers and their families live.

In addition to more privacy, there is plenty of room for social contact. The hub is the place where the students can meet, lounge and relax together. The hub is located centrally on the ground floor and 1st floor. It is the living room for the students with communal areas set up around it. Also there are a few office spaces for the administration of the boarding-house, consultation rooms for psychological counselling and monitoring by tutors. At the hub in a large kitchen and dining room children learn to cook and clean up by themselves. Furthermore, there will be facilities where they wash their own laundry. The elder children here actually learn how to be prepared for the next step towards independent living.

Curved building mass in the sloping landscape
The residential building is nestled in an hilly landscape that slopes down from the motorway to the river with bordering forest. The purpose of the S-shape is an optimised integration of the terraced building mass in the 'village scale' of the campus. The volume of the residential building follows the contours of the landscape. The building layout offers the most favourable light from the sun in the rooms, as is important for buildings for children in Russia.  The curved S-shape of the building has an cantilever facing the motorway on the norther side. This is resembling a snake with a lifted head. The tail gradually moves down in the direction of the forest to a height level that conforms with the other dorms on the campus. The stepwise construction of this design ensures maximum space and integration into the waved landscape. The orientation provides a nice open view on both sides of the building. Building shape and orientation are also favourable considering possible future developments.

Solid building structure, smart flexible layout and internal logistics
On campus, boys and girls have separate departments within the residential building. But they also wanted flexibility. Sometimes there are more girls than boys. By one main staircase where two staircases turn around each other like a knuckle, boys and girls each get their own staircase. This setup offers flexibility for changing boy-girl ratio in the future; a boy-dorm can easily be changed into a girl-dorm and vice versa and always use that separation. The interior is determined by the spatial function. The hub will have a colourful and dynamic atmosphere, while the rooms will have a soothing and calm design.

The appearance of the facade makes the building recognisable as a campus component, but above all it fits in with the ensemble of other buildings on the campus. It is distinctive because it is not a building to merely sleep in but rather a place where children are prepared for adulthood, individuality is expected.The same brick is used as the main building of the school. It is lighter than the brick used so far in the other boarding buildings, which provides a light touch to the overall picture. A play of brickwork creates bands that stagger over and over, creating the rhythm of a wicker pattern. The location at the end of the campus strengthens the individuality. 

The design is expected to be completed around December 2020.