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  1. ArchDaily
  2. Projects
  3. Schools
  4. Colombia
  5. Giancarlo Mazzanti
  6. 2008
  7. Gerardo Molina School / Giancarlo Mazzanti

Gerardo Molina School / Giancarlo Mazzanti

  • 01:00 - 11 November, 2008
Gerardo Molina School / Giancarlo Mazzanti
Gerardo Molina School / Giancarlo Mazzanti

Gerardo Molina School / Giancarlo Mazzanti Gerardo Molina School / Giancarlo Mazzanti Gerardo Molina School / Giancarlo Mazzanti Gerardo Molina School / Giancarlo Mazzanti +50

  • Architects

  • Location

    Bogotá, Colombia
  • Architect

    Giancarlo Mazzanti
  • Collaborators

    Andrés Sarmiento, Juan Manuel Gil, Gina Amado, María Constanza Saade, Carlos Melo, Alberto Aranda, Ana María González, Jorge Gómez, Manuel Mendoza, Edgar Mazo
  • Project Year



More than an isolated school, the aim is to develop an URBAN PROJECT that ENCOURAGES NEW SECTORIAL CENTRALITIES WITH THE EQUIPMENTS that are already being used by the school such as the library, the auditorium, the cafeteria, the support rooms for neighborhood activities.

As the Project will be winding and turning it will be opening to the city, leaving space for small squares and exterior parks for public usage, leaving behind the bars and walls that stereotyped education institutions as closed spaces.

The conformation of small squares and green spaces with trees direct on the surrounding streets, accompanied by the auction modules, will redefine direct accesses. The borders of the institution produce the closings; the school will not have bars or walls.


The Project is raised as a modular system which is capable of adapting itself to the most diverse situations, whether they are topographical, urban or the result of a program. It is based on a regulated series of procedures and ordered actions (PROTOCOLS) and on the construction of a CHAIN GROUPING system skilled for intertwining and acting depending on the place, the amount of sunlight, the topography and the events (ADAPTIVE SYSTEM).

a) ADAPTIVE SYSTEM: The construction of the model is based on the combination of rotated models. The latter is a unique piece system capable of developing a more complex and adaptive organized structure than the sum of the parts. The grouping system is raised as a CHAIN construction in which each module is related with the ones beside it and element chains are produced whilst configuring ships that generate, at the same time, spaces in which unexpected and surprising diagonals and vacuums are produced, enriching the school tour and usage. The grouping system also allows the conformation of courts, streets, subsectors, gardens and tree isolations in the exterior space.

b) PROTOCOL: The model develops a normative offer which seeks to establish a few rules of operation directed to achieving two objectives. The first one (SPACIAL- classrooms) tries to promote the SPATIAL IDEAL RELATIONS between the parts and the place, views, privacy, sunlight, communication, etc.


The model raises the application of the following modules:


Module 1a from the grouping of three classrooms - for application in the first floor.

Module 1b from special classrooms and teacher rooms - for application in the second floor.


Straight and flat connector module 2a - enables circulation in straight line.

130 degrees connector module 2b - enables changes in the direction of circulation.

30 degree connector module 2c - enables strong turns. Plain and inclined terrain.


The elements in the program that enable the appropriation of school services with the surrounding community - they define the entrance and the direct relation with the street. These are structures that because of their size and function are considered atypical.

The entire building has a pedagogic function, apart from the classrooms, the model seeks to potentiate the appearance of interstitial spaces or covered vacuums between the classrooms which expand or contract to define spaces as the prolongation of the classrooms, places for thought, for union, for friendship. Each and every one of the courts and places between the classroom module defines itself with an educative, sensorial and dynamic theme.

The assembly - the tours - the exterior spaces

When assembled, the module system produces a sequence of touring spaces and events of diverse nature which have spaces that are proper of the education community. They generate spaces in which surprising and unexpected diagonals and vacuums enrich the tour and usage of the school.

THE MODEL SEEKS TO VALUE THE ENTIRE SCHOLAR SPACE AS A PLACE FOR EDUCATIONAL TRAINING. This presupposes the search of creating pedagogic ENVIRONMENTS (thematic) instead of architectures.

Zonal equipments - Management strategy

The project raises the possibility of using the communal facilities as libraries and multi-use classrooms, allowing their external use without obstructing the functioning and security of the school. Due to its location, the external and appropriate access is permitted by the community during non scholar hours. The main objective is to give the space a social function in which the collective good is the priority and thus, to open the school for the entire community.


The objective is to use the materials in order to offer a smooth image with the help of Swatch watches and Twingo automotives, which allows the approximation of the pupils. Floors on vinyl in roll of different colors and figures. Sheets of crystal in san douche with resin of color in the interior, (laminated glass) to mark and to give color to the pedagogic zones. The structure is combined metallurgy and structural masonry.

Location to be used only as a reference. It could indicate city/country but not exact address. Cite: "Gerardo Molina School / Giancarlo Mazzanti" 11 Nov 2008. ArchDaily. Accessed . <>
Read comments


Aqua Terra · May 25, 2011

Gerardo Molina School / Giancarlo Mazzanti

Mn.V. · April 09, 2010

Althoug I feel optimistic about the idea of having innovative ideas for spaces in such poor areas of bogota and the social impact it has over the students that attend this school. I believe that having the chance to attend to a school whith these qualities opens up the mind of the students, i dont think it is natural or casual for them to interact with a space like this. None the less i believe that there is no natural authenthicity to the project, the distribution of space is completely arbitrary, and could easily be placed in some other site. If the architects talk about integrating the community in a conceptual way, where leftovers become parks, they might aswell reflect this in the distribution and the arrangement of the space. How does the traffic and the streets affect the area, circulation etc, because if its about the parks theres a huge one right next to it. And the video just shows how arbitrary it is.

Mark M · April 07, 2010

I liked it better the first time, as Patkau's Strawberry Vale school.

JP · April 09, 2010 07:36 AM

We all know that Mazzanti is the quintessential copycat of architecture and he hardly has any original ideas, but I don't this his "reference" for this school is Patkau's, Although it would be nice to see the original school that he "re-interpreted" into this one.

orlandoqd · November 19, 2009

the same thing we see everywhere en mazzanti's

nothing different

Manoel Passos · October 28, 2009

I must say I was stunned by such simple yet clever ideas. The total integration with its surroundings is fantastic ! the juxtaposition of great materials and its geometry is just superb ! i just think it reflects a culture and its people and that what makes architecture such a unique profession.

Jan · November 13, 2008

Another wonderful project by Mazzanti.
Even more so considering the context (btw I wouldn't exactly call it monotonous...), it's great to see that the authorities are trying to improve the quality of life in these poor neighborhoods and that they realized how important architecture can be to achieve that. This is one of the best examples of architecture I have seen recently, not only because of its qualities as a design but for its social dimension.

Dirk · November 12, 2008

Nice school, especially in this monotone surrounding.


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