LocationCastellbell i el Vilar, Spain
Design TeamCarlos Ferrater, Nuria Ayala
Architect in ChargeAlexandre Pararols
On behalf of the NGO Fundació Catalana de l'Esplai, we are working on several projects of colony houses in different areas of the Catalan geography such as Castellbell i el Vilar, Navés, Sant Joan de les Abadesses, ... with the criteria of sustainability, durability , adaptability and austerity that characterize the buildings we have made for them. The main premises that were taken into account when thinking about the new shelter were the following:
Economically sustainable project. The cost could not exceed € 450 / m² built including the urbanization
Multifunctional project. With a background of more than 25 years managing nature schools, the Foundation determines that the feasibility of such equipment must have great versatility. Aspects such as the capacity of the rooms, the distribution, the toilets, the versatility of the activity rooms, the accessibility in all the spaces ...
Project respectful with the environment. As an implicit part of the Foundation's educational project and with the experience acquired in a building such as CENTER ESPLAI, the construction of this new school of nature should have energy saving systems.
In the first of the realizations, the proposal of implantation leaves from the urbanistic necessity of not exceeding the gauge of the preexisting buildings, some barracks in the form of "L" in a very precarious state of healthiness and hygiene.
The new equipment will consist of three distinct areas: Service building, Natura classrooms and dormitory area. The services building, where the dining room, kitchen, store and reception area and information point are located. The dining room will have a capacity of almost 100 people and will be located in a single room, where the different groups that stay in the hostel will find a space for meeting and relationship. In the building next to the dining room will be the three classrooms of Natura, with a capacity for 30 people each.
Fleeing the conventional typologies of houses of colonies, which respond to the comb scheme: circulations from which hang batteries from bedrooms with common bathrooms, the proposal is committed to some system units, in which the relationship between the useful surface and the surface built increases, since the communications between them are produced from outer space. This modular arrangement will allow, for example, to accommodate different groups within the same installation and that these maintain a certain degree of privacy within their house.
The volumetric fragmentation in small autonomous units allows the graduation of the number of users and minimizes maintenance and surveillance costs, while allowing to configure a system with the entire colony.
The unit is proposed as a reference, archetype and image of the childhood world imagination: small houses, people, relationship with the forest, roads and the natural and, in the future, allow an easy expansion or expansion of the system itself. The adapted external routes and the steps between the different volumes allow circulation between them, thus grouping the entrances and facilitating the control by the monitors.
We propose 3 different types of rooms, with groups of 4, 6 or 8 children with the possibility of developing them in a level or two according to the body, resulting in a total capacity of 90 places. The upper space and the volume of air that it contains acquire an enormous importance given the occupation of the room areas, also favoring the incorporation of the control of the acoustics and of the artificial lighting on the suspended fabric that form white tubular profiles. The simplicity of the materials used has allowed a great economy in the means of execution as well as the final repercussion in its subsequent maintenance. In the interiors, painted concrete block, polished concrete pavements of fine particle size, windows 20 cm wide, inserted in 2 mm thick stainless steel frames, with painted MD door frame incorporated to darken the interior, domes of tongue and groove seen, which gives a warm tone to the interior light The location of the window assemblies on the vertical walls allows a perfect cross ventilation, independently of the prevailing wind in each case.
For exteriors, the uniqueness of the material: facades and roofs, both in room cells and in public buildings, responds to Parex's Coteterm system, a flexible and self-cleaning stucco that allows the continuity of the insulation and the water-repellent treatment throughout the perimeter. The exterior routes are differentiated into two types of pavements: textured concrete planks for pedestrians and concrete scraped for the road.
Given the final solution of the proposal, the spectrum of users is extended since not only will it be able to host summer camps and camps for schoolchildren, but families and groups will be able to use the equipment throughout the year.