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  7. Rafal Secondary School / Grupo Aranea

Rafal Secondary School / Grupo Aranea

  • 01:00 - 2 March, 2011
Rafal Secondary School / Grupo Aranea
Rafal Secondary School / Grupo Aranea

Rafal Secondary School / Grupo Aranea Rafal Secondary School / Grupo Aranea Rafal Secondary School / Grupo Aranea Rafal Secondary School / Grupo Aranea +25

  • Architects

  • Location

    Rafal, Alicante, Spain
  • Architects

    María Gadea Pascual, Martín López Robles
  • Director

    Francisco Leiva Ivorra
  • Collaborators

    María Gadea Pascual, Martín López Robles, Marta García Chico, Marta Martínez Osma, Marian Almansa Frias, José Luis Campos, José Vicente Lillo.
  • Structure

  • Budget

    5.121.702,47 €
  • Area

    6195.0 sqm
  • Project Year


From the architect. A suite of small interlinked courtyards creates a complex playing space. As in entering a walled enclosure, the building looks permeable from the interior and opaque from its urban context.

The idea of creating an introverted perimeter construction capable of housing a complex interior space has much to do with a protective attitude but is also reinforced by the small dimensions of the plot, leading the heart of the star shaped courtyard to accommodate the sports zone and to partially make the most of the permitted (ground floor + 2), while creating a series of concatenated open spaces at different heights to counteract the limitations of the plot. The result is that, when crossing the perimeter shell, the pupils find themselves in a surprising central space where a set of acronyms at different heights help to understand the interior of the school as a single multiform yard extending over the different floors, configuring a great collection of relationship spaces at different heights. A three-dimensional organization chart built from reinforced concrete, where each classroom or workshop occupies a differentiated volume, allows the acronyms to be seen from the entire yard. A single material builds the structure and the enclosure, permitting a considerable increase in façade surfaces while minimizing construction and maintenance costs.

The ground floor houses the specific labs and workshops shared by Secondary and Sixth Form: library, chemistry and physics and natural sciences labs, plastic arts and technology workshops, multiuse hall, students’ hall and cafeteria. These are halls with larger surfaces for specific activities that may occasionally be carried out in the open air in their respective associated yards and that can operate independently from the regulated school rhythm.

The first floor groups the 12 secondary school classrooms with their specific IT and music rooms. The circulations alternate outdoor and indoor routes to give access to the different classrooms. This circulation space finishes in an extension of the central courtyard via a great pink hillock and a grandstand, halfway between the great central courtyard and the indoor pavilion.

The second floor houses the 4 Sixth Form classrooms with their respective specific rooms. Once again there is a sequence of indoor and outdoor circulations in order to emphasize the relations with the central courtyard, reinforcing the idea of a great courtyard extended in height.

The two protagonists of this grading of relationship spaces on this second floor are the aerial kitchen garden (recalling the farmland that surrounded Rafal, since this new perspective maintains a visual continuity with the nearby fields), and a small pink hill that owing to its strategic situation has become a popular meeting point.

Location to be used only as a reference. It could indicate city/country but not exact address. Cite: "Rafal Secondary School / Grupo Aranea" 02 Mar 2011. ArchDaily. Accessed . <>
Read comments


garmendia arquitectos · March 04, 2011

Just perfect...

Mario · March 03, 2011

got some prison air to me

ana · March 03, 2011
vivipatriajaya · March 03, 2011

RT @ArchDaily: Rafal Secondary School / Grupo Aranea #architecture

David · March 03, 2011

Can a work of architecture constitute, in itself, a critical project? Can it change the way its users see their habitat, and awaken them to their supposed errors of vision and method? Can it take a stand in aesthetic and moral judgment of its surroundings, and propose a counter-model for a more environmentally and humanly sensitive method of development? These are some of the questions the architects of the Grupo Aranea set before us in their project for a High School in the small town of Rafal (population 4,000), located on a fertile coastal plain 20 kilometers from the Mediterranean, in the Spanish province of Alicante.

Barry Maguire · March 03, 2011

Rafal Secondary School / Grupo Aranea via ArchDaily - © Grupo Aranea Architects: Grupo Aranea ...

Erik Joya · March 03, 2011

Rafal Secondary School / Grupo Aranea: © Grupo Aranea Architects: Grupo Aranea Location…

DEZIGN · March 03, 2011

Rafal Secondary School / Grupo Aranea: © Grupo AraneaArchitects: Grupo Aranea Location: Rafal, Alicante, Spain D...

h.a. · March 03, 2011

why people always comment the same about schools? Is it really more appropirate for children a colourful plastic building with clowns jumping around

jacob · March 03, 2011 11:39 PM

that's not a sentence

diego · March 03, 2011

powerful and essential building!

C · March 03, 2011

I really dont like the fact a school kinda looks like a jail...

Dennis · March 03, 2011

forbidding and unfriendly building...


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