Nueva Esperanza School / al bordE

Architects: al bordE arquitectos – David Barragán & Pascual Gangotena
Location: El Cabuyal, Manabí, Ecuador
Collaborators: Xavier Mera, José Antonio Vivanco y Estefanía Jácome
Client: Felipe Gangotena, The Teacher
Contractor: arquitectos, Pascual Gangotena, volunteers and the community of El Cabuyal
Design Year: 2009
Construction Year: 2009
Project Area: 36 sqm
Photographs: Esteban Cadena, Francisco Suarez y Pascual Gangotena

“For all of we, who belong to the Puerto Cabuyal Community, it´s been a cause of pride to have our new school. Our community is located on the beach, on the field, in a far away site, been fishing and agriculture the basis of our daily meals. Until 4 years ago there was no school in the community and because of that, most of its inhabitants were illiterate. We began with our school in a small cottage, but as the time passed, the space was got smaller because of the number of children, that’s why we undertook the construction of a new place”.

The Teacher

The Teacher with the model
geometric development scheme

Most of the schools near the area are made of concrete, with a rectangular shape, with window bars that make it look more like a jail than a school, and the level of defection is very high. That is the reason why the project is looking for solving not only immediate problems but generate long-term solutions.

It was extremely necessary to design the space according to the principles of an active school. The project must be intimately closed with the natural environment nearby. A space were kids can wake up their imagination, their creativity, their desire of learning new things, and not an space were kids feel repressed.

construction process

The project uses the same materials and building patterns the community has been using for building for years. A timber basis above the foundation piles, bamboo walls, structure and a roof made of knitted straw scarf or “cade”. The difference lies in the conception and conceptualization of the space. A place for education that encourages learning through action.

“A huge change in the children´s learning process has been made since the very beginnings of the school. The action of opening the entrance door is a physics lesson. The space is generous in every way, which is why the kids feel freer finding each one their own place in which they are going to develop their activities. The model and the structure transmit a freshness and imaginative environment that has favored the development of artistic and academic activities through the lessons that gives the best teacher ever, nature”

The Teacher

Now, the children and their parents are proud of their school. Proud of the change that this school has made, been a motif of union and self-esteem for the whole community. When people from outside admire it, when they see it and know it.

“In our Fisher community, It´s the prettiest thing, having a school with a boat shape in where every day, kinds jump into it and get ready to sail and discover new worlds from their very own intern world full of abilities and potentialities. In where children learn science and technology, valuing the life of the field as an starting point, through the lessons given by the best teacher of all, the nature”

The Teacher

Cite: "Nueva Esperanza School / al bordE" 07 Jan 2010. ArchDaily. Accessed 26 May 2015. <>
  • atmadja


  • Cameron

    Now this is refreshingly honest design in so many ways.
    A new generation will be inspired by its sensitivity.

  • Luka

    Very refreshing, and it looks beautiful

  • Bianchini

    Design like you give a damn!
    Beautiful concept!

  • damirm.

    ‘keep going’ concept made beautiful learning space

  • Nicholas Patten

    Nueva Esperanza School.

  • poh

    Architecture with a big brain (for its beautifully optimised structural design) and a bigger heart.

  • isla

    this is what architecture should by about, not big renders, not big models, just pure and honest ideas.

    Keep posting this quality of works AD, and please stop with the megarender crap.

  • jrg arq

    muy bonito!

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  • Nea’ma

    I want to thank the TEACHER for his spirit “MAKING A DIFFERENCE”, & I think they all succeeded in creating an effective, simple, dynamic & beautiful design

    Great work
    well done

  • RFI

    Not just beautiful in the architecture, more than that…

  • biseptoon

    Budget of this school construction is cheap, but this building is more beautiful than all Dubai’s projects.

  • biseptoon

    Budget of this school construction is cheap, but this building is more beautiful than all Dubai’s projects.

  • Lin

    thanks for all they do for the children