PINHAL NOVO NEW PRIMARY SCHOOL
"After decades of dissemination of an educational network trough Portugal, repeating mute, systemized typologies, we assist nowadays to the closing of public schools, and to the regrouping of different types of schools (kindergarten, primary and secondary) in one single institution, adapted to the local needs and minimizing resources.
Pinhal Novo, once a small village south of Lisbon, had on the contrary, an exponential population growth. Inspired by the population’s youth, we felt that in this particular case a typical generic typology should be avoided. We developed therefore a building adapted to the urban environment, local climate and to the population’s social specificities; a discreet and elegant public landmark.
Surrounded by common two story, single family houses, occupied mostly by elderly citizens, the project consists on the extension of an existing primary school, built in the 60’s, a Scandinavian project done with poor means in the Mediterranean sun, with large unprotected classroom windows on southern façades.
In order to foster the school’s public role, the sidewalk is enlarged, creating a small boulevard on its main entrance, sheltering people from the harsh southern sun. Protected under a large canopy, it also shelters a car drop-off, allowing parents to leave and collect its children smoothly; avoiding the usual traffic jams.
The building encloses the whole site creating interior courtyards open on one side, allowing the children playgrounds to be part of the neighborhood’s daily life. The project creates conditions to raise the number of students from 60 to 275, with educational gardens and playing fields, a library, a multi-purpose hall and a large refectory.
Since the beginning we established the following goals:
- To extend the existing school in a single story building, improving the relationship with the exterior spaces, allowing universal access to disabled students and facing extremely rigid fire regulations and to clarify emergency exit routes.
- To create a homogeneous volume similar to its urban surroundings, occupying the entire site’s perimeter, creating interior courtyards, limiting and controlling street access.
- In a fast growing neighborhood, to create conditions for a future extension, in short term and without major costs, transforming part of the exterior covered spaces into classrooms, razing the school capacity in 30%. "
Source text EXTRASTUDIO