Arquitectos: Alejandro Aravena, Blanco Andrade Arquitectos.
Colaborador: Victor Oddó.
Proyecto (concurso): 2006. 3° premio.
Superficie: 10.000 m2.
Ubicación: Santiago, Chile.
When studying the call for entries of the competition, we pretty son realized that the problem was how to fit the required program into the given site. In principle, it is always desirable that rooms that will be occupied by a lot of people, like classrooms, are on the ground level; a 1-storey school is always an attractive alternative. But in this case, the required usable area was almost coincident with area of the site.
So our first idea was to have a 1-storey building but lifted to a second level. That way, still with easy access to the classrooms, we eliminated the always conflictive relationship between classrooms and the adjacent outdoor courtyards, we kept the unity of the school as whole at eye level, we got for free the massive amounts of covered courtyards required by the program and we concentrated the foundations, and therefore the difficulties of building over expansive clay, in a few specific points.
The other problem we wanted to tackle was that the size of the project was of geographical scale; actually it was measured in hectares not in meters. So, our answer, instead of architectural had to be of agricultural magnitude. The circles, being the figure that with less perimeter covers the biggest area were an efficient territorial unit. Having to deal with an incremental way to build the project over a period of 10 years of time, the circular courtyards, allowed for an appropriation of the territory, without having to build it all at once.