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image Project: Escola EB 1 2 3 Gondifelos

Escola EB 1 2 3 Gondifelos

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Architect Narrative

Once upon a time there was a small village (about 2 000 inhabitants) where there were a church, a cemetery and a school too small to admit a big innovative teaching project, congregating in one same space all the cycles of mandatory schooling.
Thence the idea was born to build a new school where the whole community could fit in and that would allow activities exceeding the temporary and the mandatory.
The organization operative concepts pointed to complexity, flexibility and organizational lightness, necessary items for a local centre of basic education, linked to an educational territory.

The various kinds of knowledge and the progressive sequence of learning were ordered, always having in mind that the centre of learning is the student and not the programme.
The school occupied a cornfield that grew behind the stonewalls and the espalier paths. From the initial intention of integrating them only the road wall was kept, a first line of protection for the school and indication to the community that the paths it had previously drawn were respected.

Contiguous to the field, the school is only visible from afar through the cupola of the resources centre; it is necessary to come near for the building to reveal itself.

Thought for the community to pass through, the school has two hemispheres (north hemisphere and south hemisphere) giving onto a meridian road.
An ordered net of circulations bridge the meridian road to allow fluidity, facilitating the routes and simultaneously permitting the casual encounter (crossing).

At the end of the hemispheres, a shelter that bends to receive the children and lead them to the hall protects the school entry.

The hall gets natural light from all the quadrants to make the reception, which is prolonged into the multi-purpose hall.

The multi-purpose hall, thought to make the great celebration, welcomes daily the refectory where the whole school gathers together.

The spaces for the direction/management are the head of the school near the hall.

The resources centre is the heart of the school, its centre and its future. Volumetrically, it is the circus tent, the highest point of the whole school and its reference toward the exterior, as a church tower is.

The social and educational support spaces are the hinge between the three cycles of schooling.

The group of classes for the youngest children (1st cycle) are designed to create protection bubbles (covered playgrounds) that are the extension of the two groups of teaching space, each one of them comprising two classrooms and a room for plastic arts education, linked by a multi-purpose room.

The classrooms for the 2nd and 3rd cycles unfold into two calm floors linked by a central ramp and stairs. From every room the trees and the hills in the background can be seen to the east and the sky to the west.

The spaces of visual and technological education, open in their imagination, extend into the outside yards that lean over the meridian road.

The lab spaces are serenely concentrated in their research to the west.

The sports ground, the gymnasium, the covered playground, the students’ meeting space and the ramp that links them, being a space for jumping and running, forms the set of volumes formally more lively and diversified.

The auditorium unfolds to create accesses to the exterior community.

The toilets are organized in small groups dispersed in the whole building in order not to create a great accumulation of students in just one area.

Recognized Value Award 2002

Vila Nova de Famalic„o


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