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  3. SEEDoc: Maria Auxiliadora School

SEEDoc: Maria Auxiliadora School

SEEDoc: Maria Auxiliadora School

On August 15th, 2007 a powerful earthquake hit the region of Ica, Perú, destroying the small Maria Auxiliadora School. The first responders left after a matter of months, but the damage remained. Resources were shuffled to the big cities, and the small school waited, for years, for the authorities to take on the reconstruction. They never did.

And so, with help from Architecture for Humanity Design Fellow, Diego Collazo, and with funding from the Happy Hearts Fund and the SURA Group, the community decided to take the school’s - and their children’s - future into their own hands. This SEEDoc, the latest installment of inspirational mini-documentaries from the Design Corps and SEED (Social Economic Environmental Design), tells their story.

More after the break...

Courtesy of Maria Auxiliadora School
Courtesy of Maria Auxiliadora School

As with any public-interest design project, the people of the community can be your greatest challengers (after all, they will live with this project long after you, the architect, is gone), but they can also be your greatest champions. 

In the video’s most emotional moment, the school’s principal, Doris Floria Rosas Hernandez, explains her life's work: “My goal was to leave this school well-equipped for my students - not just for the parents, but for the children. We are always trying to do good things for our community and try to leave something for our children. Sometimes we want to do much more but we don’t have support from our authorities.”

Tapping into this community’s collective desire for action was key to the reconstruction of the Maria Auxiliadora School. The SEEDoc shows how Collazo, through workshopping and referendums, was able to understand this community's priorities and needs to create a design which resonated with them. The result was a school with energy-efficient features, upgraded drainage and electrical systems, spacious and well-ventilated classrooms, a new library, a new computer lab, and multi-use areas for outdoor activities. However, perhaps more importantly, the school also established a network of parents and teachers 100% committed to giving the students the tools they will need to accomplish their dreams.

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About this author
Vanessa Quirk
Cite: Vanessa Quirk. "SEEDoc: Maria Auxiliadora School" 16 Jan 2013. ArchDaily. Accessed . <> ISSN 0719-8884
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