Jardim de Infância Popular, Cacém, Portugal
Exemplary design categories: energy efficiency, safetyHow the facility meets the needs of education and communities:
Conceived as a simple box structure, with a longitudinal east-west axis, the school has been oriented to create visual continuity between the school gardens and the urban park and to ensure that the south-facing classrooms benefit from solar gain. On the first and second floors, the central longitudinal volume effectively divides each floor into two areas. The kindergarten classrooms are grouped on the first floor, and rooms for older children are on the second floor. All rooms for children are on the south side. The south facing rooms all include volumes jutting out of the main façade. With floor-to-ceiling windows, these provide views over the school gardens and additional space for class activities. The building façades are predominantly in white concrete and have a simple, clean appearance. The inner face of this structure is lined with thermal insulation panels, and a third brick skin protects these panels and guarantees thermal inertia inside the building. Given the potential flood risk on the site, the building is raised off the ground. Only the entrance and some support functions, housed in rhythmic volumes separated by opaque and translucent screens, are located on the ground floor. These screens also effectively divide the exterior space. A semi-public area lies to the north of the building, and serves as a car park and access area. There is a more secluded area to south, containing the school garden and recreation area. There is a rainwater collection system, and for ventilation, air is mechanically extracted from the bathrooms, which draws air into the structure through a system of external grills.
Activity Areas: 4 classrooms for younger children (first floor), free activities room and dining hall, free activities room and library, teachers’ office, director’s office, administration, circulation areas, rooms for older children 2nd floor), special educational needs classroom, activity room, staff lounge, the medical room, nursery
Project costs: EUR 820,000.00
Source: "Designing for Education: Compendium of Exemplary Educational Facilities 2011"