San Ignacio de Empedrado High School / PLAN Arquitectos

© Pablo Blanco

Architects: PLAN Arquitectos
Location: Empedrado, Maule,
Project Team: Rodrigo Cáceres Moena, Alejandro Vargas Peyreblanque, Álvaro González Bastías
Site area: 9,717 sqm
Constructed area: 2,900 sqm
Project Year: 2005
Construction year: 2008
Photographs: Pablo Blanco Barros

The architectural proposal emphasizes community and school life integration, as the public architecture must be a meeting point between the spatial relationship of the interior and the context of the urban landscape. In order to achieve this, the building proposes a double height covered porch, marked by diagonal props, which programmatically divides the educational spaces. The public spaces for the community are arranged on the first level, in a way that visually links the interior of the structure with the urban life.

first floor plan

This architectural program has an advantage over typical educational facilities in that it is a technical education center for the community. The center includes working and cooking workshops, which are both very important activities for the community.

Having a public space opposite the main façade entrance undoubtedly provides a space for new uses, as the square is unveiled beside the principal one. The square helps to create a place of support for the activities of the auditorium and library, which are not only a part of the educational establishment, but are also a part of the community and can be enjoyed on the weekends. The triangular entrance site plan is reinforced with architectural elements such as a high roof, diagonal props and urban design elements including road surfaces, benches and lighting.

© Pablo Blanco

The nature of the inner terrain height differences were a critical factor for the interior courts proposal. Thus, the courts, which include the access, play and civic courts are designed in ascending levels, structuring the building in a simple and clear way.

elevation 02

On the other hand, and as a response to the current importance of energy usage, the building’s heating system rests on a sawdust biomass boiler, as wood is a plentiful resource in this area. It consists of organic waste material of high power and low cost. This notably contributes to Lyceum equipment sustainability.

© Pablo Blanco

Also, it is important to point out that the building did not suffer structural damages after the 8.8 magnitude earthquake in February, 2010 (even though it is located only a few kilometers from the epicenter).

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* Location to be used only as a reference. It could indicate city/country but not exact address.
Cite: "San Ignacio de Empedrado High School / PLAN Arquitectos" 13 Aug 2010. ArchDaily. Accessed 27 May 2015. <>