Best Practices in Educational Facilities Investments

Escola Artística de Soares dos Reis, Porto, Portugal

Exemplary design categories: art and design facilities, flexible learning settings, technology rich, vocational facilities

How the facility meets the needs of education and communities:
Before moving to its current campus, the former premises of the Oliveira Martins secondary school, the existing buildings were extensively refurbished and new buildings were added, creating a modern facility. Carried out under the School Building Modernisation Programme (SMP) launched by the Portuguese government in 2007. Soares dos Reis was one of four institutions selected for the pilot phase of the SMP. The former school was built in the 1960s, and consisted of a classroom and administrative block linked by an external walkway to a second block housing the gym, canteen and assembly hall. The space between these two volumes has been used to add two new buildings, which house teaching rooms and workshops, the library, a multipurpose room and the cafeteria. The new buildings and the refurbished premises have been linked by an internal circulation route. Its design is based on the “learning street” concept, and connects all areas of the school to the main entrance. It allows parts of the institution to be accessed by the public outside normal school hours. An extension has been added to the entrance, creating a covered outdoor area at the front of the school. Informal learning is encouraged throughout the building, and the school ethos is that education should not be confined to the classroom. The indoor and outdoor social and recreational spaces support informal encounters, the sharing of ideas and extracurricular activities. The circulation spaces are wide, and every room is acclimatised and soundproof. The school has wireless broadband access throughout. Access roads for suppliers enable deliveries to be made without disturbing classes or going through the corridors. The materials used for interior finishings are washable, so the school looks always clean.

Activity Areas: general purpose classrooms and specialist facilities, including science and multimedia laboratories, workshops, art studios and ICT rooms

Project costs: EUR 15,000,000.00

Source: "Designing for Education: Compendium of Exemplary Educational Facilities 2011"

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