Text description provided by the architects. The UDEM Santa Catarina Polytechnic High School is a collaborative project between the University of Monterrey, the state and municipal governments, and the companies in the area to provide excellent quality education with technical specialties and human training to low-income young boys, so that they become agents of change in their own marginalized community, ensuring their incorporation into the labor market through agreements with companies in the area.
The building is a prototype of a project for 10 similar schools that will be located in low-income areas of the metropolitan area of Monterrey and that will offer a high school program with technological specialties to address the serious problem of educational shortage faced at this level. , a problem that triggers serious consequences, such as gang and underemployment among young people.
The project that is presented, with a capacity of 700 students, is the prototype of these schools for areas of low socioeconomic level and are designed so that, in addition to solving the educational problem, they serve as a trigger for the urban improvement of the adjacent areas.
The building, given the scarcity of economic resources available for this type of project, is conceived with a construction system of very low cost, handling almost in its entirety apparent materials and high durability and low maintenance cost.
It was a requirement that it was a high-speed prefabricated construction system, and the school was able to build on time to start classes in a record period of four months from its inception. For this reason, prefabricated steel structure was used, as well as prefabricated concrete slabs and walls.
It is important to emphasize that even with very austere and low-cost materials, through design a distinctive, dignified and impressive image was obtained that reflects the industrial processes that are taught there. The yellow color that is the emblematic color of the UDEM is aggressively emphasized, and when repeated in the different zones with the same style, they establish a "visual mark" for this type of school.
To maximize the social benefit, the set is designed for dual use: during the mornings the technical high school classes and their respective industrial workshops are taught, and in the evenings the facilities function as a community center for the inhabitants of the surrounding area, who use the library and sports courts outside of class hours for children and young people in the area, whether or not they are high school students. The classrooms are also used in these hours for community education courses.
This project is an example of how high-quality buildings can be integrated in marginalized areas (as has been done, for example in Medellin) that can foster civic pride and serve as a basis for improving the urban quality of an area.