Architects: OAB - Office of Architecture in Barcelona
Location: Castellbell i el Vilar, Spain
Design Team: Carlos Ferrater, Nuria Ayala
Technical Architect: Alexandre Pararols
Project Year: 2010
Photographs: Alejo Bague
Project Area: 770,48 sqm
Budget: € 504,079
On behalf of the ONG (Catalana de l’Esplai foundation) we are working on several projects of colonial houses in different areas of the Catalan geography: Castellbell i el Vilar, Navés, Sant Joan de les Abadesses,… with the criteria of sustainability, durability , adaptability and austerity that characterize the buildings we have done for them. The main assumptions that were taken into account when thinking about the new place were:
* An economically sustainable proyect. The cost could not exceed 450 € / m² constructed including urbanization
* Multifunctional project. With a background of over 25 years managing Nature Schools, the Foundation determines that the viability of the equipment must have great versatility. Aspects such as the capacity of the rooms, the distribution, the toilets, the versatility of the activity rooms, accessibility in all areas …
* Environmentally friendly project. As part of the educational project of the Foundation, and with the experience gained in a building, like ESPLAI CENTRE, the construction of this new Natura School should count on energy saving systems.
In the first of the embodiments the proposal tries not to exceed the gauge of the existing buildings, as some barracks shaped in “L” in a very precarious state of health and hygiene.
The new facility consists of three very different areas: Building of services, Natura Classrooms and bedroom area. The service building, which houses the dining room, the kitchen, the store, and a reception area. The dining room will have a capacity of nearly 100 people and will be located in one room, where different groups staying at the shelter will find a meeting place. In the building next to the dining room will be the three Natura classrooms, with a capacity for 30 people each.
The project aims for a system of units, in which the ratio of usable area and constructed area increases, since communications between them occur from outer space. This modular arrangement allows, for example, the accommodation of different groups within the same facility and that they can have some level of privacy.
The volumetric fragmentation into small autonomous units allows scale the number of users and minimize the cost of maintenance and surveillance, as well as to configure a system with the whole colony.
This project is proposed as a reference, archetype and image of the imaginary world of childhood: small houses, village, relationship with the forest, the roads, which in the future would allow easy extension or expansion of the system itself.
We propose three different room types, with groups of 4, 6 or 8 children with the opportunity to develop them as a level or two. The simplicity of the used materials has allowed great savings. In the interiors, painted concrete block, polished concrete floors, windows 20 cm wide, inserted in matte stainless steel frame 2 mm thick, with a porch of DM built to darken the interior. The location of windows, allows seamless cross ventilation, regardless of the prevailing wind.
For the exterior, the unity in the material: facades and roofs, respond to Parex Coteterm system, a flexible and self-cleaning stucco that allows continuous isolation and waterproof treatment around the perimeter. The external paths are differentiated into two types of pavements: textured concrete planks for pedestrian and scraping concrete.
Given the project’s final solution, the range of users will be extended, since not only will accommodate the colonies and summer camps for schoolchildren, but also families and groups will be able to use the place.