- Collaborators: Víctor Soriano Tarín, Ismael Planelles Naya, Alejandro Rodríguez Sáenz, Laura Papíri (Arquitectos)
- Engineer: David Gimeno Asensio, Índigo Ingeniería
- Client: CIEGSA, Consellería de Educación, Generalitat Valenciana
- Construction: Construcciones Luján S.A.
- Materials: Lattice: Ladrillo Hidrófugo Macizo; Facade: Ladrillo Hidrófugo Perforado / Marca Malpesa, Color Rojo Bailén
- Architects: Carlos Soler Monrabal + Luisa Fernández Rodríguez
- Technical Architect: Juan Antonio Díaz Romero
- City: Xàtiva
- Country: Spain
Text description provided by the architects. The new Jacinto Castañeda arises from the total replacement of the old school in an adjoining plot, keeping only the block of the gym. The plot of expansion is located on the Cami de la Bola, in the town of Xativa.
This is an expanding area of the town at its southwestern end characterized by medium-density buildings (single-family house in a row of three heights). The plot has a rectangular shape, bounded to the south by Geógrafo Estrabón Street, to the north by the Cami de la Bola, and to the east it shares a party wall with the current center and with another lot of municipal ownership.
The area of the lot had a sharp slope as it was located on the mountainside, with a vertical difference of 12.50 m between the upper and lower streets. For the reasons discussed above, we proposed a replacement of the existing building with a project in two phases: In the first phase we intended to construct a new building with almost all of the program in the adjacent plot, without interfering in the functioning of the existing building.
Once the new building was finished and put into operation, the second phase would take place involving the demolition of the existing building, retaining the areas that could be used such as the gym and the caretaker’s house. We would proceed to build the dining hall and complete the development of the lot by integrating the spaces freed by the demolition to obtain a unitary result. Ultimately and due to the needs of the center and its students, the dining hall was built during the first phase.
The response to the characteristics of the site has been instrumental in the design of the project as well as the relationship of the building with the lot of the existing center and the buildings that are preserved. The building is arranged in three levels that are adapted to the slope of the land to allow a good relationship with the exterior surfaces, facilitating accessibility and avoiding excessive earthworks.
The orientation of the volumes is arranged to capture the maximum natural light and to prevent casting shadows between the built volumes. In this way, the building is located on the western edge of the lot and is terraced to capture light from the south and the east, and at the same time maintain the distance with the existing building.
Access to the center is from the Cami de la Bola because it is the street which is better connected to the rest of the city. Of the three levels mentioned above, the access level is reserved for kindergarten spaces and for the access to the rest of the building, along with some common spaces such as the Multipurpose Room, reception, and administration.
Therefore, access to kindergarten is from the same point but differentiated from the access to primary school, which is slightly higher (+0.90m), establishing an independent operation that allows easy communication.
The kindergarten classrooms are laid out in groups of three oriented north, reinforcing the lighting from the east through skylights that also provide cross ventilation. At higher levels, 18 teaching spaces for primary are laid out in groups of six with their corresponding classrooms for small groups and teaching teams.
The first floor contains six primary school classrooms with common rooms such as the library, multipurpose workshop, computer, and music room. The classrooms are laid out in two parallel areas that make up a longitudinal courtyard and are oriented to the east, while the circulation corridors are oriented to the west. On the upper floor are two other groups of six classrooms, laid out in an L-shape that lies on the upper limits of the lot, and allows the orientation of the classrooms towards the east and south.
This volumetric configuration is adapted to the slope so that each of the three levels has a level access to the exterior, which facilitates evacuation in case of fire and allows quick access to outdoor recreation areas. Vertical cores are distributed at the center and at the ends of the building to facilitate circulation, fire compliance and accessibility.
The dining room and kitchen are located in part of the current lot, and are conceived within an independent single-story volume that absorbs the existing transformation center. The building for the new center has been arranged to allow the integration of the two lots ensuring a result consistent with the design of outdoor spaces.
After the demolition of the current facility, we completed the playground for kindergarten and the sports track for the Primary School, which are located on a lower level (ground level), whereas the playground for the Primary School is located on an upper level (first floor level).
To bridge these two levels we use a strip consisting of a set of stairs and ramps that are flush with the extension of one of the arms of the kindergarten building. This mechanism allows us to generate the necessary exterior space to locate the three classrooms required as possible expansion.
At the top of the lot, one of the classroom blocks with north-south orientation is laid out creating a porch that accesses another ramp that ensures accessibility to the gym and makes room for the expansion of the center with six extra primary school units, as shown in the drawings provided.
Valencian ball games are located at the top of the lot next to the sports track and the gym. They are laid out longitudinally along the south-east boundary of the lot, forming an access to the sports track from the street.