Catholic University of Santa Fe Extensions / Javier Mendiondo & Lucila Gómez

© Federico Cairoli

Architects: & Lucila Gómez
Location: Echagüe, Santa Fe,
Area: 1,913 sqm
Photographs: Federico Cairoli

Collaborators: Melina Langhi, José Citroni, Sebastián Romero, Leonardo Huspenina, José Pizzi
Project Management: Arq. Alejandro Moreira, Arq. Marcelo Saus
Structural Consultants: Ing. Alejandra Saux, Ing. José Gallo
Structures: Ing. Marcelo Panza
Landscape: Liliana Bock, Mario López, Enzo Fratti
Client: Universidad Católica de Santa Fe
Construction Company: Cocyar S.R.L.

© Federico Cairoli

The university is located in Guadalupe, a garden neighborhood of Santa Fe, whose distinctive characteristics are dense forest, low building density, and the use that neighbors give the street as a space of encounter. In this context, the university building, with its pre-existing 12.000 m2 was distinguished by an architecture of a discordant scale regarding its environment. The project proposes to recreate in its expression and its spatiality some of the identity attributes of Guadalupe: the vegetation and the way of appropriating public space. The new building shifts the environmental character of the streets of the neighborhood to its interior through the use of vegetation, both in the facade as an environmental filter, and in the heart of the expansion with the presence of a pink Lapacho tree. Also, an open and transparent ground floor proposes a new dialogue between the building and the city, as an interaction between the central courtyard and the street.

© Federico Cairoli

The ground floor acts as an institutional access to the entire educational complex, communicating the north wing and south wing, and setting a cloister around a central courtyard. From this dialogic approach, the building becomes urban and the city defines its architecture, concepts that dematerialize the set demarcations and that propose a new way of uniting society. Regarding materials used and perceptions represented, the building recreates three sequenced episodes that correspond to three material instances: 1 – metal-vegetal, 2 – concrete-vegetal, and 3 – wood-concrete.

© Federico Cairoli

A first instance is materialized towards the street through a vegetal truss contained by a galvanized mesh, laid out as a shade for the facade, which benefits the interaction of the building with the Guadalupe surroundings. As a vertical garden, this metallic mesh contains the planting, irrigation and drainage systems for six types of plant species that in each season make a natural-artificial event, versatile and changeable. The building registers a second moment with a succession of spaces that express the interior-exterior articulation, linking the horizontal aperture of the ground floor with the vertical tensions generated by the interior courtyard and its pink Lapacho tree. Like a Roman impluvium, this interior courtyard solves the drainage system of the building through an overflow of rainwater that trickles through a plane of concrete from the roof to a ditch on the ground floor.

© Federico Cairoli

The third instance, towards the interior courtyard, offers an answer of contrast and rupture. The wooden parasols transcribe to the interior of the building a play of projected shadows and their reflections on the glazed railings, generating an intense environment where the main interpersonal activities and the encounters between the members of the university community happen.

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* Location to be used only as a reference. It could indicate city/country but not exact address.
Cite: "Catholic University of Santa Fe Extensions / Javier Mendiondo & Lucila Gómez" 24 May 2013. ArchDaily. Accessed 31 Oct 2014. <http://www.archdaily.com/?p=375523>