Location: Barcelona, Spain
Project area: 2,434 sqm
Project year: 2008 – 2010
Photographs: Eugeni Pons
A primary school like the one designed in Catalonia by design studio Arqtel calls a design that is sensitive to childrens’ need for comfortable and inviting spaces. This building generates a dialogue with its surroundings not only through its spatial composition and architectural tectonics but also through its volumetric orientation. As a result, the building optimizes functional program at the same time as it focuses on aspects of light, orientation and the quality of the spaces generated. Retaining a telluric presence, the building brings a sense of order to the site and acts as a landmark among surrounding buildings and fields.
Its north-south longitudinal axis opens up in a circulation pattern resembling a comb, alternating playfully between filled and empty spaces that characterize the whole. The stratification of the facades realizes an intention to create a modern and dynamic presence. The result reflects a kind of animated architectural and material character with exposed concrete walls on the facades of the longitudinal axes. While the facades give shape to the secondary courtyards, they also provide a counterpoint to the materiality of the aforementioned facades. Here, the facades are painted in lively colours, evoking a sense of warmth and joy. They alternate with the transparent sections which are resolved very differently in relation to the interior spaces.
The school is an example of sustainable architecture from its conception and design, ranging from passive climate control systems to the construction. With the intention of employing innovative thinking in construction methods, prefabricated systems have been used for the structure, facade and partitions. These systems allow for a considerable reduction of construction time, provide construction elements of outstanding quality, reduce noise and dust emissions and lower the time and waste generated by the construction process itself. This Catalonian school marries playful space with efficient and sustainable construction with charming results.