working with the expansion of the umbral secondary school in buenos aires, paralelo colectivo believed it was fundamental to rethink and deepen the meaning of ‘school’ in contemporary times. with their new proposal, they aimed to have a direct impact on the future understanding of public spaces, specifically educational institutions, meeting spaces, and the city.
the argentinian firm envisioned the building to lead a long, useful life, but also to maintain a political model of organization and mass education. they believe it is imperative to rethink school spaces, as the conservative and rational architecture of school buildings in the early twentieth-century has endured and seems outdated regarding contemporary innovations.
the design features a large threshold courtyard between the city and the school, as well as a new hall on the top floor. the barrier separates massivity and containment, a place of relation, a transitional space. it ceases to be a simple element of passage to become consolidated as an explicit support of the teaching spaces, the classrooms. the traditional situation of students lined up looking at the teacher is broken and different ways of carrying out the activities are born. the school’s architecture becomes a threshold, between learning and life.
a sober material and color palette keeps the school neutral yet versatile. it enables children to become imaginative and focused on the tasks at hand, leading to a better education. the changing materials that clad the building become permeable spaces of exploration for the children, where they get glimpses of the outside world without distraction.
project name: UMBRAL escuela secundaria
architecture firm: paralelo colectivo
location: ensenada, buenos aires, argentina
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edited by: cristina gomez | designboom