Classrooms as shelters. A group of classrooms as a village.
The new school complex, which holds different educational levels from three to twelve years, is located in a residential area on the outskirts, southwest of Zaragoza. The absence of urban references, given the isolated location of the plot, makes to conceive the project from the inside out, based in their own internal requirements.
From the concept of the project, the proposed architecture develops the concept of unity and multiplicity, associated with the fragmentation of the program in classrooms and diverse sets of unique elements, "additive houses", which are related by porches and patios, streets and squares, interiors and exterior. This approach also addresses the relationship between the domestic scale accompanying the child and the community dimension of public facilities in a new residential neighborhood.
The classrooms are oriented to the south to ensure natural lighting and are grouped around the common outdoor space for games and outdoor activities. A cantilever, which runs around the perimeter of this space, protects from the sun and rain. From a distant vision, the grouping of classrooms, "houses" around the courtyard garden refers to the idea of village or town, as a set of independent living units that colonize a place.
The school is designed as a collective place of learning, play and relationship, and work for teachers. The scale and characteristics of different indoor and outdoor spaces suited for use by children or adults and the number of students in each case: classrooms, multipurpose rooms, patios, playgrounds, ... From the educational point of view, the focus is on the pedagogical value of teaching spaces and the school is seen as a significant experience in spatial terms, related to the child's creative world. In this sense, the project meets the sensorial relationship between children and architecture, using geometry, space, light, materiality and color. At the level between three and six years, the school contributes to the playful atmosphere that the child needs at this crucial stage for learning and skills development. The planning of the kindergarten, on the south side of the plot, is based in some ideas about setting up an environment specifically designed for the child, as the first level of socialization, advanced by Maria Montessori in their first "Case dei Bambini" (Children's House).
This idea of the classroom as a home that protects and shelters, refers to the anthropological origins of the room -the hut- and it is showed in truncated-pyramidal pitched roofs over square classrooms. Each group of children inhabit a classroom-or "house" -. The interiors are characterized by neutral and uniform finishes; the surfaces in contact with the child, floors and walls, are continuous and finished in soft materials