On January 24th, the fifth edition of the 'International Education Day' was celebrated under the slogan "Invest in people, prioritize education". Proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly, it promotes a strong political mobilization seeking to chart the way and accelerate progress towards the 4th Sustainable Development Goal: Quality Education.
"Currently, 244 million children and youth are out of school and 771 million adults are illiterate. Their right to education is being violated and is unacceptable. It is time to transform education," says UNESCO.
Quality education implies an investment in quality architecture to accompany it. For this reason, we have selected ten inspiring examples of educational architecture in Latin America.
Description submitted by the project team. As a result of the earthquake of September 19th, 2017 with the epicenter in San Felipe Ayutla Puebla, cities and towns in the center of the country were severely affected. In the state of Puebla alone, more than 200 public schools were severely damaged, most of them rural. A couple of months after this event, we received an invitation from the companies IENOVA and GDI to build the rural elementary schools in the communities of Santa Isabel Cholula and San Martin Tlamapa, where the schools were destroyed.
Description submitted by the project team. The immensity of the Brazilian tropical savannah, the infinity of the sky, and the popular knowledge. It is the continuous, vast, and thin imaginary line in the background that welcomes the journey and knowledge of Brazilians living in the central region of the country. The architecture proposed there cannot be different from such a conformation. It is the breadth that touches us, along with the beauty of the people who live there. However, how will it be that architecture marked by memories, techniques, aesthetics, and rhythms becomes relevant to this location? How to deal with this site where the current culture is modernized and abstains from any memory of a reproduced dream? How to intervene in a place marked by the manual labor of agriculture and indigenous nature?
Description submitted by the project team. This is an intervention for a school in a precarious environment, inserted in the Buenos Aires suburbs: The 9 de Abril neighborhood in the province of Buenos Aires. The commission was made by the family that manages the school, for which we were required to provide a solution for access to some classrooms on the upper level. Although the requirement was a staircase, the access point and relationship with the main courtyard of all levels of the school, gave us multiple opportunities.
Description submitted by the project team. Colegio 29 de Noviembre is an educational institution built in 2010 in the town of Nueva Colonia, in Turbo, Colombia. One of the few public infrastructures in a town with high poverty rates, and deficiencies at all levels in public services, roads, housing, etc. In 2018, working for the Fundafrut foundation, we advanced the proposal to intervene in the existing building, improving the conditions in which the children studied, in addition to expanding the existing facilities.
Description submitted by the project team. The school is based on a compact volume that is born from its central "patio", this space is defined as a meeting place that is projected to the community, a multipurpose space to which the programs of the service and teaching area of the school are turned, decreasing circulation surfaces and increasing the m2 of the proposed space. From this point the volume takes its greatest height going out to look for natural light, a sort of wink to the Mapuche ruca and its chimney, in this case, the chimney is replaced by a skylight. Fire V/S Light. The importance of this space lies in the multifunctionality of its program, establishing the school as a community meeting center, the fire pit is the space itself.
Description submitted by the project team. The Alto Anapati preschool project is located in a Nomatsigenga native community in the central jungle of Peru. The school, founded in 2008, was in precarious conditions and at risk of flooding. In 2021, thanks to funding from the local government and international cooperation, the project became a reality, generating access to education for more than 50 children, in addition to providing a community space for 86 families.
Description submitted by the project team. The project uses the same materials and constructive logic with which the community has been building its houses for years. A wooden base on stilts, cane walls, wooden structure, and a roof woven with toquilla straw or cade. The difference lies in the conception and conceptualization of the space, a place for an education that encourages learning through action. Now children and parents are proud of their school, of the change that it has meant, being a motive of union and self-esteem for the whole community, and seeing how all the people from outside who know it admire it.
Description submitted by the project team. The Bella Vista boarding school was planned and built during the second phase of construction of the Agronomy Campus near Cochabamba, Bolivia. The vocational center offers a perspective to young people from extremely poor families in Bolivia that goes beyond the common subsistence level of agriculture. CODE and Professor Ralf Pasel in the Department of Building Design and Construction at TU Berlin are engaged in a long-term interdisciplinary project in the Andean village of Bella Vista, Bolivia, with the aim of developing local solutions against poverty and finding solutions to global problems.
Description submitted by the project team. The San Felipe Chenla School is one of the 7 schools that are part of the "Schools of Nebaj" program, in Quiché. This project is a donation from the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA), which seeks to dignify educational facilities in needy areas in the Guatemalan highlands and other localities.
Description submitted by the project team. The Uruguayan public school has a great tradition and has been able to respond to adverse social situations: at the beginning of the 20th century the "Open Air Schools" for children with tuberculosis, in the middle of the century the Rural Program with extended hours and food to address poverty in that area. Today's Full-Time Schools (FTS) face the challenge of a fragmented and territorially dispersed society, which generates homogeneous schools that reflect the place where they are located. Therefore, FTEs seek to improve equity conditions for children living in poverty.
Learn more about educational architecture.