Text description provided by the architects. Annexa-Joan Puigbert is the name of the school that occupies a T-shaped building from the 50s of the 20th century. Its main building lies along the main street, and in the middle point there is another building which is perpendicular. The building’s topographical position is strange, due to the steep hill where the school was built. The street building was completely in use. However, the perpendicular one was in great deterioration, especially in the structure.
Generalitat Education Department’s programme was to increase the number of normal classrooms and specific ones as well. That meant building its correspondent extra space for other activities, such as a gym or a multipurpose room.
The project proposes the demolition of the perpendicular building in order to achieve a complete continuity of the exterior space, from the pine forest in a higher level to the playground in the lowest area. The multipurpose room is integrated in this topography, in its longitudinal section. The coincidence of this added space on the terrain section with the main vertical access (interior stairs) allows to define and to discover a new space of visual connection between the existing building, the new gym and the outdoor playground. The stairs are left hanging, free of the surrounding concrete slabs, and are connected to a new vertical space, linked at the same time with the multipurpose room and the playground.
The special classroom programme suggests reorganising the Education Department’s proposal. Instead of putting the entire necessary programme in a new building, the existing building is refurbished with only normal classrooms, while the new one has the special ones. In this new building, there is space for technology classes, the library, IT and music classes, etc. It is attached to the neighbour wall, and not to the existing building, in order not to take out its personality. It gets connected to the old building in a single point. The new volume will be the new entrance of the centre, with stairs and lifts, apart from a natural access to the playground. A small tree covered outdoor space enhances the idea of the access. By moving the access to this point, it eases the routine of taking the children to the school and picking them up. On the other hand, this new building can operate independently from the rest of the centre. Thus, it can offer night service or a more general public service.
Both buildings are designed with a clear metallic skeleton. It is covered with industrial systems and materials. Indeed, this type of structure combined with prefabricated metallic panels (opaque or transparent) makes its construction a very agile process. Somehow, we can talk about surgery in two cases. The first operation is to cut the existing perpendicular building in the most fragile section (the stairs) and to build the multipurpose room volume. The second operation is the physical relationship between the special classroom building and the existing one.