Location: Olot, Girona, Spain
Architects: SV Arquitectura – Santiago Vives
Area: 12803.0 sqm
Project Year: 2009
Photographs: Beat Marugg, Santiago Vives
From the architect. The general object is the refurbishment and extension of the Secondary School 'Garrotxa' and its department for job-training enclosing new units of classrooms and workshops for training courses. Finally a new sports hall with multipurpose-character for social events completes the complex. The initial proposal includes the demolition and in some cases, the relocation of the workshops, prefabricated buildings and original greenhouses to simplify the processes of construction and re-organization.
Finally the construction of a two-storey building, transversal to the arrangement of the original pavilions enabled the definition of a new axis of access and circulation for the whole complex of old and new buildings. This solution resolved all requirements of accessibility and connectivity between the buildings. The transversal building contains mainly multipurpose classrooms and common services like the central dining room.
On the north side of the transversal building a total of 6 workshop-pavilions and the sport shall connect like fingers to it. These buildings of varying heights define among them a grid of courtyards that provide the interior spaces with natural illumination and ventilation. Close to the new entrance and intimately linked to the garden, you find the new service kitchen, cafeteria and dining room. You also get direct access to the future gym and its locker rooms permitting the independent use of it while the school is closed.
The classrooms of the secondary school are entirely distributed in the existing buildings on the south side of the transversal building. They are also oriented perpendicular to the new transversal building permitting again the integration into the main circulation through a comprehensive grid of pathways along green patios and buildings, always sheltered by pergolas. Only one of the existing buildings has to be completely replaced and another completely new bloc will define the south border of the complex.
The general construction concept was raised by a dichotomy between the ground floor and the upper floor. Thus the ground floor is understood as the basis with a structure of reinforced concrete slab while the first floor shows a light metal construction with cantilevered metal-roofs which provide shelter to façades and exterior circulation areas.
The buildings show widely a skin of U-glass-profiles, which are installed as a double shell with a core of translucent thermal insulation. Combined with transparent glazing in aluminum frames this skin provides excellent interior space conditions and a remarkable reduction of the costs for artificial lighting.
The opaque parts of the facades consist in walls of concrete blocks, covered with thermal insulation and boards of pine-wood. The wooden façades are protected for exterior use with water-based black varnish. The divisions of the interior space are built with gypsum fiber board panels and steel structures. The interior carpentry is made of painted wood.