Polytechnic School / Iñaqui Carnicero

© Roland Halbe

Architect: Iñaqui Carnicero Alonso‐Colmenares
Location: Madrid,
Project Team: Alonso‐Colmenares, Alejandro Vírseda Aizpún, Miguel Angel Cámara Mamolar
Technical Architect: Manuel Iglesias
Collaborators: Ignacio Vila Almazán, Luis Fidel Cámara Mamolar
Client: Fundación Universitaria San Pablo CEU & Eduardo Gómez, Director de Patrimonio
Contractor: A.C.S.
Project Year: 2002
Photographs: Roland Halbe

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Our experience as former users of the achitecture school of Madrid let us have a second thought about the conventional structure generally used for these particular buildings. Usually architects give their atention in the design of the most repetitive element in the university, the classrooms, forgetting that the places of relationships between students, like cafeterias, become one of the most intense and frequented places of the building.

© Roland Halbe

So, as we think that university life takes place not only at the classrooms but also in the lobby and meetings room, both spaces were given an equal consideration. These particular parts of the building, where students exchange ideas, disscusing, brainstorming, etc, , become an active core , helping the process of learning to happen in a more dinamic environment. That is why we think it should have a distinctive characteristic from the classrooms.

© Roland Halbe

Definetely, we distinguished between two stages clearly differentiated that set up the structure of the new building. To begin with, the stage of Knowledge , exemplified with the classrooms, Lecture hall, etc. And then, the stage of relationship, such as the lobby and the meetings room. The first stage, necessarily repetitive and divisible, find its purpose upstairs, away from the groundfloor and the noice coming from the campus, though gaining an intimate relationship with a system of north orientated courtyards. In contrast, the second stage is held on the groundfloor as an extension of the campus itself, iluminated by the prints of some yards of the first stage converted in little “greenhouse” that guarantee the space privacy without interfereing with the view.

© Roland Halbe

Therefore the lobby and meetings room will turn out to be a whole new space inside the university building where social relationships will take place. Finally this is, no doubts, the real bet of our propousal : the courtyard as a repetitive element capable of reenforce all the activities related with the university life fenomenon not only inside the building but also outside, in the campus.

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* Location to be used only as a reference. It could indicate city/country but not exact address.
Cite: "Polytechnic School / Iñaqui Carnicero" 13 Jun 2010. ArchDaily. Accessed 19 Dec 2014. <http://www.archdaily.com/?p=63567>
  • Antuan

    I studied there for my first 3 years of school… It was horrible.

    - Classrooms have no visual connection to the exterior (natural light came from patios that were at the back of the class so you had the shade of your body over the table, all the windows on the facade are for offices, except for a few). After you finished your 6 hours of classes you felt like you were getting out of a cave, it felt very much like the Clockwork Orange, nowhere to look but the chalkboard, nowhere you could relieve your eyes for a second checking out something else outside. This wouldn’t have been too bad if the patios were at least open so you could stay on them and use them. Of course not. They are only to provide sunlight and fresh air, such a wasted opportunity. Not to mention the one on the cafeteria, that one is even more laughable.
    - Public and meeting spaces are north korean style. No trees or green of any kind, huge and exposed for, better control of the students? The cafeteria is out of scale, it’s tiny compared to the number of students. The main hall is always empty as there is nothing to make you stay there (in the original project it was going to be another “patio” with sunlight, now it has artificial light all day long), and just a few students used it as most of us came through the parking directly to the classrooms floor or to the cafeteria. The lobby is not a meeting place, at all. And the huge strip of concrete in front of the main facade is meaningless, its very much like the old western movies when you can see tumbleweed rolling along a desertic background. And what do they refer as the meetings room? What the hell is that and were is it?
    - The main corridor (classroom floor) has also a kind of oppressing character, when you enter you don’t seem to see the end of it. It could have worked as a kind of inside street, but it is all the same in all its length, no changes occur, no compression – decompression, so it’s difficult to know where you are, you have to judge by the distance to the main door or the window at the end of it.
    - As you can see, the facade solution is classy but also expensive. A lot of money was spent on this project and after that the school underwent a period of very tight budgets and that came all the way down to us, the students. Anyway, that isn’t the architects fault, I guess.

    I could go on. I keep thinking and new stuff comes into my mind but I don’t want to get boring. The real problem here is that it was their first commission, actually they won the competition for the building before finishing their studies. Never give an unexperienced architect such a complex project even if he is a brilliant student.

    P.S. I do like his more recent work anyway. The Google maps situation is incorrect.

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