Architect: Iñaqui Carnicero Alonso‐Colmenares
Location: Madrid, Spain
Project Team: Iñaqui Carnicero 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
Project Year: 2002
Photographs: Roland Halbe
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.
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.
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.
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.