LocationCarrera 57, Medellín, Antioquia, Colombia
Design TeamJavier Castañeda Acero, Alejandro Restrepo Montoya, Edison Bedoya Santamaría, Juan Esteban Parra Henao, Pablo Rico Álvarez, Jorge Andrés Arenas Betancur, Juan David Cerón Betancur, Zulay Andrea Rendón Cardona
1. The Urban and Social Characteristics
Between Social Absences and Informal Constructions
Barrio Moravia is located in toe northeastern sector of the city of Medellín and is connected to the downtown area through the Paseo Urbano Carabobo.Near Moravia new urban spaces and cultural activities are beginning to generate a different perception of the sector. Moravia has been the place of unplanned settlements and diverse urban growths. The December 23, 2004, census indicated that there are 4,300 properties located in the zone of physical and non – recoverable environmental risk, areas of recessed brooks occupied by informal settlements and an opportunity for the development of mobility projects, the generation of public space and diverse facilities. Unplanned housing has, historically, been build in Barrio Moravia, the majority of them located on a landfill. Moravia is an urban system with a closed configuration, which favors the “inward development” of the community life of its inhabitants, with a labyrinthine urban grid and reduced physical relationships with the city.
According to the 2004 census, 35% of the population in Moravia was between three and ten years old, ages that would permit thinking of the need for public and collective facilities for early-childhood care. Successive, planned interventions since 2005 showed the process of the physical consolidation of the barrio as one of the most densely populated settlements in the city.This problem –coupled with the historic neglect of the State, the presence of armed conflict and the worsening of social, economic, educational and cultural problems– necessitated the comprehensive intervention by the Municipal Administration.
2. A Space for Early – Childhood Education and Family Encounters
The Origin of the Project
A Merit Competition, formulated by the Office of the Medellín Secretary of Public Works, allowed the establishment of guidelines to design and build a Quality Early – Childhood Kindergarten with public funds, oriented by guidelines formulated by the Colombian Institute of Family Welfare (Instituto Colombiano de Bienestar Familiar, ICBF for its initials in Spanish) and the Healthy Start Program, from the Office of the Mayor of Medellín.
The Project and Territoriality
On a lot with slopes exceeding 90% and surrounded by unplanned housing constructions on the north and south sides – which evidence the history of the informal formation of the barrio – the Moravia Kindergarten and Family Center is located, a space for family encounters, a home for children of the area from zero to five years old.The project is on Carrera 57 (the road that joins the Kindergarten to the Moravia Cultural Center) through the Patio de los Árboles (Courtyard of Trees), a public space with controlled access, which integrates the environment with the project. It is an urban space for social and family gatherings amid the unplanned, growing density of the sector, which allows the generation of collective and family spaces in State interventions aimed at early childhood.
3. The Kindergarten and the Urban Project:Articulation and Transformation of the Land
In a sector historically characterized by conditions of violence, poverty and State neglect, with informal constructions and increasing occupational densities, this proposal strengthens the social and family fabric through strategies of education, recreation, health and nutrition in the middle of the constructed, informal city.It is a space that transform the territory through the recognition of diversity and the generation of collective spaces for encounters, recreation and dialogue.
The Kindergarten, proposed by the Office of the Secretary of Municipal Public Works of the Office of the Mayor of Medellín and coordinated by the Healthy Start Program, is the first experience of this type of public – destination buildings, which has served to approve 21 new kindergartens in the city.Three of them were awarded through national public tender and 18 more have been developed by the Medellín Urban Development Corporation (Empresa de Desarrollo Urbano de Medellín, EDU).
The Patio de los Árboles joins the building to the street (the public space of choice of the sector); inside it projects family life and community encounters.The informally build city allows the inclusion of collective spaces and educational spaces as a strategy to strengthen the social fiber through education, health and nutrition, specific aspects of the Quality Kindergarten Program in the city of Medellín.
Crossing the Patio de los Árboles means coming into contact with the earth and the air:a succession of courtyards and ramps allow discovering – step by step – the collective spaces while the base plan is folded into the topography of the land.
A ramp that serves as the crest of the spatial system of the foundation accesses the second level, where the dining room, kitchen and offices are found.
The Attention and Interaction Rooms:Spaces for the Construction of Collective Habits
On the slope of the mountain, the Attention and Interaction Rooms generate a relationship with the outside world, allowing control of its interior space from the courtyards.Three independent block, joined through open spaces and covered circulation areas integrate the rooms with outdoor spaces, controlled and monitored by the teachers. In the first level, the rooms for children from one to three years old are connected to the Patio de los Juegos (the Game Courtyard), while the second level – for children from three to five years old – is integrated to the Patio del Conocimiento (the Knowledge Courtyard).
4. The Material Language
The building incorporates the formal components and materials that are characteristic of the barrio for its urban, spatial and technical proposal.The foundation continues the existing lines of the façade and forms the gateway to the project. The Edificio de Actividades Múltiples (Multi – Activity Building) is set back to form the Patio de los Árboles, a collective space constructed in brick, the characteristic material of the houses of the sector.
The Multi – Activity Building presents a control system for solar incursion through precast – concrete elements in ochre, white and terracotta, arranged according to the location of the sun every day of the year.
Concrete is its natural state and in colors, painted and brick walls – materials that have originally been present in the formation of the barrio – are used once again to establish a material language through standardized installation systems that permit using labor from the sector for efficient, coordinated and modular construction.
5. The Environmental Project
Solar Orientation and Urban Wind
Given the orientation of the building with its long east and west façades, it was necessary to reinforce the shade in the Patio de los Árboles with medium – height species of trees that had foliage that permitted a 60% permeability of light.The shadow in the collective space is reinforced by the prevailing wind currents, with speeds of between 1.5 and 2 meters per second.
The cross wind in shaded areas allows a favorable exchange of temperature and relative humidity, improving the air quality in the Multi – Activity Building, the courtyards and in the Attention and Interaction Rooms.
Solar Control, Natural Lighting and Ventilation
A system of colored precast – concrete elements controls solar incursion on the west façade.The arrangement of these elements is made according to the inclination of the sun at all times of the year and in order to generate wellness in the use of the interior spaces. The courtyards receive the shadows from vegetation and the buildings; the terrace of the Multi – Activity Building permits exposure to the sun of infants between 0 and 1 year old in the early hours of the morning.
The Attention and Interaction Rooms work with a system of sliding windows and perforations in their side walls, which permit the passage of air into the interior space.The environment and the collective spaces of the Moravia Kindergarten have been adapted to provide the city with an urban environmental, cultural, recreational and educational space. It aims to integrate the building with the barrio and with the city through the comprehensive attention to the family, the basic unit of society.
6. An urban, educational and cultural space in the unplanned city
The Moravia Kindergarten is an opportunity to understand the educational space as a place for the family and the community, beyond the specifics of their functions.Between boundaries build without prior planning and which have characterized the morphology of the Barrio, a public space for early – childhood training allows inclusion. In the middle of absences, it provides the possibility of family encounters, social strengthening and the right to hope.
A Garden of open spaces, a place where dreams begin to grow.