Ouca Crèche and Elementary School


The site where the new equipment is to be located is mainly composed of agricultural parcels, forestry production and urban areas that spread, from a central nucleus, in a random way, creating single housing units. In its whole, these entities form a heterogeneous tissue and a singular landscape.


The proposal for Ouca’s Crèche and Elementary School is characterized by a formal and elementary construction. The project tried to reveal this elementary through the design of the buildings and outdoor spaces: pavilions in the shape of a house, courtyards, balconies, establishing a relation of continuity with the surrounding territory.


The open area in the central area of the site defined for the equipment, as well as the proposed bushes and trees fringe, seeks its genesis in the organization and division of the soil in this territory, alternating between open agricultural spaces and closed spaces for forest production. This trees fringe allows for the creation of a natural filter towards the surroundings and simultaneously introduces shading areas and intimacy within the interior of the school premises.


The programmatic distribution of the building seeks create the conditions for the use of this equipment by the neighbouring community. We have decided to create two separate wings of pavilions. To the West there are the Classroom Pavilions and to the East the Canteen, Gymnasium and Library Pavilions, as well as the Ball Fields. During the time the school is not functioning— weekends and holiday periods— the access to the classroom pavilions can be closed, allowing for the autonomous use of the other internal and external spaces by the community.


The layout of the different pavilions facing South / East allows for the creation of interstitial spaces that act as extensions of the interior of the pavilions. Whenever necessary, each internalprogrammatic space has associated an external area: Playground in the Classrooms, Market Garden in the Canteen, Outer Reading Area in the Library. These courtyards are planted with deciduous species, that create a solar filter during the more intense sunlight periods of the year, protecting both the internal spaces of the Classrooms as well as the external recreational areas.


Project Type


Ouca, Melgaço, Portugal

Related links


  • José Adrião Arquitectos
  • Ros‡rio Salema