Architects: Bernardo Hinojosa Rodríguez, María Aurora Delgado González, Alejandro Ibarra Aragón
Location: Valle Alto, Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, Mexico
Collaborators: Manuel Arroyo, Lilia Ortiz de Montellano Valdez, Carlos Estrada Zubia
Project Area: 1723.0 m2
Project Year: 2010
Photography: Francisco Lubbert
Ecological High School of the University of Monterrey Valle Alto Unit was conceived taking advantage of the beauty of the site, as a place where education is imparted with a hallmark: to instill in students a deep awareness of the importance of ecology. The University requested that the buildings reflect that spirit.
The main design intention was to locate the buildings so that not a single tree had to be relocated or cut down. For this purpose, we conducted a survey and detailed record of all existing trees on the property, most of them over 70 years old.
In Valle Alto Ecological High School, the relationship between ecological aesthetics and function is conciliatory: the stone that covers most of the walls is characteristic of the site, the playgrounds, gardens and outdoor spaces are designed around existing trees, and the profiles of the buildings respect the original natural configuration of the land at all times. The main body is configured via a narrow strip on the north side of the site, which contains classrooms and laboratories.
The window layout is planned in a way that takes full advantage of natural light, with views towards vegetation. With regard to ventilation, the building was oriented seeking a natural air flow, greatly reducing the need for artificial cooling.
At Ecological High School, the dense forest was preserved, and buildings that arise from the ground, more as guests than as intruders, harmoniously incorporated high-tech facilities suitable for the development of educational activities with an emphasis on the ecological spirit for which they were conceived.