Mouriz School / Atelier Nuno Lacerda Lopes

© FG+SG – , Sergio Guerra

Architect: Atelier Nuno Lacerda Lopes (CNLL)
Location: Mouriz, , Portugal
Client: Paredes City Council
Project Team: CNLL I Márcia Areal I Vanessa Tavares I Hélder Lopes I Augusto Rachão I Natália Rocha
Architecture Coordination: CNLL
Specialties: AC + Cogen, Central Projecto, IPC
Constructor: MRG
Model: CNLL
Project Area: 3,220 sqm
Project Year: 2010
Photographs: FG+SG – Fernando Guerra, Sergio Guerra

© FG+SG – Fernando Guerra, Sergio Guerra

This is a two-storey school center, including a kindergarten and an elementary school located in Mouriz, Paredes, Portugal. It was conceived to comply with a functional program based on the needs of a fifteen classroom school center: managing flows and creating different levels of use due to different levels of autonomy within the school center – kindergarten and elementary school; common areas and sports area; linking the dynamics of each space; ranking uses and users; sharing pathways and functions.

© FG+SG – Fernando Guerra, Sergio Guerra

Formally the school was defined as a longitudinal volume. The longitudinal facades are surfaces mainly sealed, only punctuated by the repetition of the same vertical opening in an apparently randomness, which at a deeper look demonstrates a careful composition instead. In opposition to the mainly enclosure of the school’s main facades, both top facades open to the surroundings through large glazed openings, polarizing the school’s longitudinality.

© FG+SG – Fernando Guerra, Sergio Guerra

The two side facing pitched roof that develops along the school’s length adopts different slopes with its assumed integration in the facades, transposing an idea of movement, which combined with the openings, creates an illusion of an apparent city’s skyline. Thus the facade’s rhythmic composition is not limited to the openings domain, but extends itself equally to the roof, affecting the volumetric form, which in a sense, accentuates the distinct value of the formal design of this school, and also gives us to the idea of playfulness, an intrinsic value to majority of the school’s users.

© FG+SG – Fernando Guerra, Sergio Guerra

The school’s formal features also have their outcome on the school’s inner spatiality. The characterization of the interior space and athmosphere reflects the rhythmic composition of the openings as well as the roof’s slopes variables, allowing different interior-exterior perspectives and relations, and especially different physical and sensorial experiences in each space, whether in classrooms or in corridors. The exterior coating material in modified wood widely used gives an unique and continuous skin dimension to the school building, ensuring an aesthetic quality and an architectural uniqueness.

© FG+SG – Fernando Guerra, Sergio Guerra

Regarding to the interior, it should be emphasized the predominance of characterizing elements as a recurrent theme, like the vinylic pavement, the suspended lighting, the white lacquered MDF cabinets and doors, which guarantee a bright and neat learning space, in which the childrean’s interaction and synergy with the space are highlighted. This school centre is a spatial solution with a strong sense of integration. It transmits an aesthetic sense of global connection and care given by the drawing composition, though printing simultaneously a contemporary expression.

Text provided by Atelier Nuno Lacerda Lopes.

© FG+SG – Fernando Guerra, Sergio Guerra
© FG+SG – Fernando Guerra, Sergio Guerra
© FG+SG – Fernando Guerra, Sergio Guerra

View this project in Google Maps

* Location to be used only as a reference. It could indicate city/country but not exact address.
Cite: "Mouriz School / Atelier Nuno Lacerda Lopes" 07 Oct 2011. ArchDaily. Accessed 24 May 2015. <>
  • up_today_arch

    I like the combination of random windows and this kind of roof!

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  • R.A

    I like the idea of randomness since its a kindergarten and elementary school. But I believe it can be shown more than just rectangular windows in random order & random pitched roof.

  • Pedro Nuno Teixeira Santos

    Is it my impression or someone forgot the trees?

    • Malika-Zaynah Grant

      I see what you mean. I like the whole concept of the building design but I think it needs the trees. I don’t understand why they didn’t include that because it would of made it look more child-friendly.

  • António

    The location in the map is wrong.
    This building is nice, but it was too expensive for portuguese people. It could be done with half the total cost. It is a good example as in Portugal the money is bad applied.