ESL / Atelier Carvalho Araújo

© Hugo Carvalho Araújo

Architects: Atelier Carvalho Araújo – José Manuel Carvalho Araújo
Location: , Portugal
Design Team: Joel Moniz, Sandra Ferreira, Ricardo Tojal, Álvaro Pereira, Pedro Mendes, Ana Vilar, Ana Carvalho
Client: Parque Escolar, EPE
Completion: 2010
Photographs: Hugo Carvalho Araújo, José Campos


© Hugo Carvalho Araújo

ESL belonged to a similar group of schools spread throughout the country, changing the configuration as the topography and lay of the land, strongly disconnected from their relationship with the context. So we got to emphasize the need for harnessing the intangible heritage. The intervention uses part of the existing buildings, primarily structural elements and some facades. We used this preexistence to provoke an initial impetus for the project, creating greater diversity.

© Hugo Carvalho Araújo

We had particular interest in the idea of evolution from a school type to an identity school, based on the context of urban integration, perception of school as a symbolic element, in its outstanding features and a general understanding of the school principal, that had clear ideas about the operation and image of the school.

© Hugo Carvalho Araújo

This development process generated a building with its own code, like DNA, something individual and unique, identity or personality. The ESL is a plaza surrounded by buildings and gardens. The project emphasizes the idea of openness to the community and strengthens its institutional character. In the upper floors are located the main teaching areas and in ground floor the areas for the community and students.

© José Campos

The skin of the building is a sheet that creates a merged transition between the environment, vegetation and the core of the building, making the boundary more delicate, revealing a relationship between the new and existing constructions. The project creates a set of blocks more compact and there is a new construction more transparent that occupies the interstitial spaces, which resets the facades, causing two reading levels, depending on where we stand or the position of the sun, as if there are two different facades.

1st floor plan

This skin defines the new language of the school, and also allows solar protection, implementation of external infrastructures and potted plants that will slowly take ownership of the facade. Sometimes green, others yellow, the color of the school will be the color of the season.

Cite: "ESL / Atelier Carvalho Araújo" 27 May 2012. ArchDaily. Accessed 24 May 2015. <>