The site is a fundamental part of the project’s conception. The proposed architecture feeds off the place, it is intrinsically tied to its materials, the tectonics and the weather conditions, contemplating the topography, the orientation and the communication networks. An architecture charged with geographical and cultural meaning.
Our proposal intends to give each and every one of the spaces an aesthetic quality that produces a microclimate, pleasant spots in contact with nature. We propose spaces that are cozy and safe, using their resources in an intelligent manner, and meant for children with diverse capabilities. We thought about the relationship between interior and exterior spaces, their articulation, considering the visuals, speaking with the surroundings and boosting the spaces of meeting and integration with the community and the landscape.
The building is composed by three volumes that organize the program (classrooms, support and public places) unified by a single roof, in which elevation details are replicated throughout its length with slight variations. This roof articulates all intermediate spaces (galleries, yards, etc.) and generates ties with the different exterior spaces. A place for people to meet is created by the 3 sectors of the building (Dining hall, multipurpose space and community space with a covered courtyard) which can operate separately or together, creating a grand space protected from the sunshine and the rain; a flexible space for recreation, gathering and celebrating as a community.
The classrooms have the suggested measurements and are connected with each other through a yard-gallery which has a considerable width that creates an open space where you can stay or use for many possible collaborative activities between the classrooms. This gallery opens towards the orchards with a Northeast orientation. Universal accessibility is proposed for the whole building, which becomes evident in the treatment given to the floors - circuits for blind children, where they will have a special classroom that has sensitive textures on the inside (floors, exterior-interior relationship and walls). Windows and roof openings are configured to maximize daylight inside the classrooms and ensure an efficient ventilation. Towards the southwest there is a window that opens diagonally which will receive some morning light giving the classrooms a particular ambiance. The elevation of the roof’s cover above the masonry base allows for an upper level with a skylight, which generates a cenital light access of southeast orientation. The opening of said skylight combined with the windows and the gratings found in the classrooms helps with the release of hot air, creating natural ventilation and cooling mechanisms, guaranteeing a comfortable climate inside the rooms. This “upper level” will also be accessible through a staircase, with storage spaces (mattresses, pillows, etc) above every classroom. It will have built in closets available to the kids and others for the teachers to keep their learning materials. The classroom’s structural design could be applied as a standard model to be used in other schools as a repetition prototype, with adaptations according to weather.
The materials and the constructive system
The project considers the environmental conditions and local materials. It has considered energetic balance of the construction process, as the proposal of a passive architecture taking advantage of the energy and the weather of the location. Materials were selected according to proximity and by bioclimatic principles, considering the workforce of the place and the volunteers through an update of traditional techniques.The foundations will be made with a base of lean concrete and strip footings. On top of them we will build masonry walls of exposed laterite brickstones, which are more resistant to deterioration by rainfall. They will be 20 cm wide with air chamber and an interior finish of rowlock stretcher bricks. These exterior walls will be finished with some rows of screened bricks on top, allowing double ventilation inside the classrooms (see ventilation schematics).We will be working with an independent structure made of woods that are easily available in the area (Icuria dunensis, Pericopsis angolensis or similar, treated with anti termite oils). With this wood we will construct the columns, crosslinked beams and the upper structure, upon which the metallic roof will lay.We will also use wood for the construction of the ventilated false ceiling and the window and door frames.We will add solar panels to make sure there is enough electrical power, and thermal solar collectors to obtain hot water. They will be located on the roofs of the support sectors (warehouses and kitchens).Close to the service sectors (bathrooms, kitchens etc) there will be an area destined to store water. All rain water from the roofs will be channeled towards the water tank or to the orchard sectors by the irrigation ditches. Also near this sector there will be a septic tank for the treatment of sewage water.We will make exterior seats and brick floors and textured concretes that will combine themselves in their design with the irrigation ditches.Construction waste can be reused in different ways. The soil coming from the excavation of the building’s foundations will be used to form the sub-base of the new pavements. The wooden formwork boards can be recovered for the preparation of support furniture, shelves and equipment.
Autores: Cristián Ferrera, Rodi Torrás, Atilio PentimalliImágenes: Santiago Skapin Modelo: Gregorio Rojas Delgado Documentación: Lucas Demergazzo