The intention of the design for the School Farm by Felipe Grallert Architects is to enhance the history of the place of Antilhue, once a train station, located in the Los Lagos town. Their design aims to put value on the station area as a large urban public square and create a path along the railroad tracks. Doing so would add history and cultural identity through an urban element capable of enhancing the rural characteristics. This would then translate into concrete action, an element capable of educating and bringing new opportunities based on its own roots, the vernacular and unique place. More images and architects’ description after the break.
Antilhue was a train station located in the Los Lagos town, in the province of Valdivia, XIV De Los Ríos Region and was built simultaneously with the railway from Valdivia to Osorno, and integrated then to the Central Railway. It is the head of the branch Antilhue – Valdivia. The station is located within the Investment Pera Antilhue branch-Valdivia. It is part of the Southern Network Company of the State Railways. It operated until 1992, with the Rápido Calle – Calle. With the closing of the business of railroads, the town passed to the oversight, as it was the main tourist and economic living of Antilhue.
Since then, this station has been visited for tourists thanks to the Tourist Train El Valdiviano, despite this the town have focused its economy in other areas, like agriculture and the production of flowers and berries of export.
It is proposed to enhance the history of the place. To value the station area as a large urban public square and to create a path along the railroad tracks. Considering Antilhue´s history and cultural identity through an urban element, capable of enhancing the rural characteristics and translate into concrete action. An element capable of educating and bringing new opportunities, based on its roots.
Given the relative isolation resulting from the lack of commercial and industrial activity in the area, coupled with low traffic connections, have determined an archaic economy based on self-cultivation and self sustenance. A series of interconnected gardens between the main blocks of the village, link a strong net between the dwelling and the land.
The first of three major issues is the exaggerated rural to urban migration from youth seeking employment and opportunities, due to little commercial development and industrial infrastructure. This motif has generated a lack of sense of belonging of future generations as to the identity and culture of its people, causing a detachment from the earth work and sustainable systems in Antilhue inherited across generations.
The second problem is the lack of educational infrastructure that was destroyed by fire. The elementary school that gave shelter and education to more than 250 children from then river side was caught in a fire more than 4 years ago and left the school completely destroyed and currently in a temporary shed.
The third problem is a tremendous lack of the proper valuation of the land and cultural identity. New generations do not see value in the culture of orchards, river side neither Antilhue´s town in particular. The youth deny their past linked to the countryside and the river, and look for the city as a model to follow. Rural culture is being lost in a powerful social breakdown.
All these factors together results in a common problem: Loss of identity, and its eventual death without a social intervention that will cascade onto a generational change in mentality, that being to a progressive understanding of rural life not dictated to by the current social pull of urban living.
The town it is understood as a series of interconnected, interdependent systems with some milestones that affect circulation and macro-relationships. Also there are urban disconnects, foremost among them the return train line, an urban element that once gave life to the village with the railway line between the south and Santiago.
From the urban perspective, the city is considered segmented, in 4 disconnected areas. The project proposes to solve this urban problem and its disconnections as well as the the urban rail lines.
The urban proposal aims to create a friendly city, able to travel from end to end, promoting a healthy and friendly environment; through parks and recreation areas, thus transforming the once negative (the train line and segregating attitude), to an engine of urban change and an element that generates a new system of parks and relationships.
We propose a school farm, linked to the land trades, embedded in an urban environment determined by a green city. This school seeks to instill in children from Antilhue village as well as from nearby towns already mentioned, an understanding of the surrounding elements. That being healthy living and nature, all framed in a way of making it sustainable, the idea is to procure the notion that these young children will be tomorrow young fellows who may not leave to the city, but people who will do their own city in their town.
To value and rescue the Antilhue´s history, identity and culture through an urban element that enhances the town itself and educates new generations.
To raise awareness of rural culture in Antilhue community. Enhance people’s identity as an engine of bond between generations. To rescue the town’s history, through its rural background. Creating a strong economy based on the work itself with the garden, land and river.
Most of Chilean educational population are children living in remote rural areas. The figures from the current state of rural education in the country include high rates of illiteracy, low education levels and high dropout rates. Additionally, studies show a late admission to schools, entering the labor market without skills and worthy competencies.
The rural educational service needs to provide opportunities to overcome the economic changes, especially in production systems. Under this idea, we propose a pioneering education system in Chile, based on new comprehensive educational proposals. It will be designed for a specific regional development strategy, delivering innovative educational mechanisms to complement rural development and quality education considering a mixture of subjects according to the region needs. We propose a flexible educational model.
Is priority to pay attention to the dispersed rural population, ethnic groups, indigenous population, and inhabitants from the border side of the river, in social risk and highly illiterate.
Adapted models are proposed for the provision of educational services, in a relevant and differentiated to a population group within a specific context. The models have their conceptual basis in the characteristics and needs need to be expressed by the population they seek to serve and rely on own technology and educational materials.
Architects: Felipe Grallert Architects Location: Antilhue, Los Lagos Commune, XIV De los Ríos Region, Chile Client: Self assignment – Los Lagos Municipality Project Area: 6,500 m2 Lot Area: 7,000m2 Project Year: 2010