Architects: Solis Colomer Arquitectos
Location: Villa de los Niños, Guatemala
Area: 2400.0 m2
Photography: Courtesy of Solis Colomer arquitectos
From the architect. The "Children's Village" Library located in Zone 6 of Guatemala is part of the Educational Facilities of the same name, a project developed by the Sisters of Mary, which focuses on training underprivileged children. This new set of buildings is part of the last phase of the educational complex, which has more than 15,000 m2 of construction distributed in modules of classrooms, workshops and sports facilities.
The project is a tripartite composition that includes a library, auditorium, classrooms and workshops. We tried to bring the three modules in a square configuration, leaving an empty center space, which recalls the housing typology of the central courtyard, which is engraved in the collective memory of the inhabitants of the city. This residual space has the quality of integrating with the rest of the public space of the entire complex, resulting in a set of scales ranging from the public to the private, giving the student an intimate place for labor. In turn, this space is covered with a pergolas system, which allows the filtering of light and the protection of the user.
Each of the modules that make up the complex have been treated with a different formality and materiality, noting the difference in the functions performed in each of the parts of the composition: The white glazed brick is used in workshops and classrooms, this functions are contained in modules that formally looks like the common typology of the house of two roofs; the typical brick is integrated into the auditorium, which is contained in a module of spiral planimetry that consistently meets the needs of an area as specific as this; at last we consider “connection modules”, which are formed by the vertical circulation and bridges that consolidate all modules in a single composition.
These "connection modules" are semitransparent elements that serve as joints between solids, so we had to take care that they give the impression of being lighter than the classroom modules workshops and auditorium. The answer to this problem is solved with the choice of two types of coatings. The first, a composition of aluminum profiles and microperforated sheet, which at first glance gives the impression of being solid, until it is intersected by daylight or nightlight, highlighting the transparency of the skin, and also working as a natural vent for the vertical circulations that are contained in this module. The second coating conform a lattice that covers the different bridges connecting the workshops modules.
The Library and its other components make an integration of materiality and formality with the culture of the place, resulting in a new architecture, but with clearly legible references to the past.
This project becomes therefore an iconic building for the complex and all the Zone 6 area, in which the complex is located.