Ouca Crèche and Elementary School

Architype Dialogue presents

José Adrião, Architect

What was the single hardest issue to predict about working within this building type and/or the most unexpected challenge that influenced new thought in the building?

The fact that this a Elementary School and that we are dealing with four to ten year old kids make this project very stimulant.

The project ideas are very simple. We have decided to work with archetypal forms, relating the new building with the surrounding rural constructions. In this way, we also tried to design a cost controlled equipment, being one of the competition objectives.

Internally, circulation is very clear. We have worked with colour associating it to the building signage. In this way, the kids will start learning how to read on the schools corridors
Did this project or building type require an expansion and evolution of your role as an architect in any way? In general, do you feel that the role of the architect is having to expand, change, or evolve on projects?

Yes. This project is part of an investigation that the office has been conducting on school equipment. The consecutive school projects that we have been involved allowed us to perfect solutions. This experience brought us the advantages that made possible to win two school competitions this last year. One for the kindergarten and elementary school Custodia Marques, in Porto Salvo, Oeiras and the other for the secondary school Quinta do Peru, in Sesimbra. Both schools are located in Portugal
How is this particular building possible today in a way that it may not have been before and how have trends in technology and society inspired new solutions?

We like to be permeable to things that surround us.

The way we relate to the world today is necessarily different from 20, even 10 years ago. We tend to like things that are necessarily easier to execute, where the manual, economic and environmental effort are reduced to the minimum.

If on one hand technology allow us to have this attitude, on the other hand the market tends for the standardization and homogeneity of the solutions, which in the end impoverishes solutions. The balance between these two questions is fundamental in our work.
In the context of this project, how is your office and design process being influenced by current trends in academic curricula and incoming young architects? In turn, how are current projects and processes guiding the ongoing reformulation and development of academic curricula?

The young assistants that enter our office are responsible for the continuous upgrade of our work tools. The reasoning that leads to the definition of project strategies evolve in a more slow and personal way. These are influenced by our constant confrontation with the world. I am sure that contemporary architecture is more stimulant than in the 1980s or 1990s.

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