Text description provided by the architects. This project was built with funds donated by Latin America Holcim Cement company employee´s and Holcim Chile (Polpaico) cement company, for the victims of the 8.8 earthquake that struck Chile on February 27th, 2010. For this project we were asked to incorporate the five principles of sustainability defined by the Holcim Foundation into three classroom modules to be installed in a low income school affected by the earthquake, located on the outskirts of the Santiago Metropolitan Region.
Innovation and transferability-Progress
To achieve this goal, we used local materials easily found in the area surrounding the school, and proposed simple construction solutions. We also incorporated a pre-fabricated structural solution, shortening the building period significantly (critical due to the emergency) and that could be easily installed by local contractors and eventually be repeated in other projects in the area or other regions of Chile with similar conditions.
Ethical standars and social equity-People
The project itself was undertaken in direct response to the needs of a community lacking the resources to rebuild the school after the earthquake.
Ecological quality and energy conservation-Planet
The project incorporates design elements that help reduce energy use and make the most of seasonal climate changes, as well as simple construction techniques to achieve this goal. Those elements include higher than required ceiling heights that add spatial comfort, increase airflow, and increase luminosity. The outer façade cover, was built with a double skin solution that permits ventilation of the walls and roof. The space between the skin and the walls consists of a 5cm space through which air circulates, removing moisture from the outer side walls. Adding a skylight thermopanel located in the sloping roof brings light to the interior, and sun in winter. During summer time when the temperature increases opening the skylight window significantly increases ventilation. As heat rises it exits through the skylight. The thermopanel windows also help to retain heat during winter and are distributed in a way that permits cross ventilation when opened. The prefabricated panels provide insulation level higher than other traditional building techniques. Solar control blinds (40% transparency) on the outside of the windows can be operated by students or school staff in order to control sunlight into the classroom.
Economic performance and compatibility-Prosperity
Using thermopanel windows, appropriate insulation and an efficient ventilation system, saves heat in winter. The construction methods ensure durability of the materials over time (eg. ventilated skin protecting the walls).
Contextual and aesthetic impact-Proficiency
The school itself is a sum of modules of different types and styles, built randomly over time. The project appears as a new module, but this time based on sustainability criteria. We use stimulating colors outside the school, considering that the project is located in a space for children. For the inside space our main goal was to achieved a bright lumious space, in contrast to some of the other old modules at the school.