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Classroom
Classroom

Plan of the site composed of 800 photos
Plan of the site composed of 800 photos

Map of the continuous space, conceptual rendering of the site
Map of the continuous space, conceptual rendering of the site

Plan of school floor 01 entrance hall 02 auditorium 03 classroom age 10-13 04 classroom age 6-9 05 toilets 06 individual reading spaces 07 gymnasium 08 grandstand
Plan of school floor 01 entrance hall 02 auditorium 03 classroom age 10-13 04 classroom age 6-9 05 toilets 06 individual reading spaces 07 gymnasium 08 grandstand

Longitudinal section
Longitudinal section

Public area and games rooms
Public area and games rooms





PROJECTINDEX
 
PUBLIC VILLA
Technische Universiteit Delft
ARCHITECTURE

Design for a boarding school
This design for fully public living quarters at the same time admits to a measure of seclusion. It was inspired by the old mansions of Havana, many of which have publicly accessible circulation space and possess a whole range of qualities and grades of containment.
After the Cuban revolution of 1959, most of Havana's upper class fled to the USA. The State then turned over the empty houses to the workers. Their families arrived from the country and everyone lived together in the many rooms of these mansions. As each family occupied one room, the spaces between these rooms became communal and since these communal spaces give onto the street and are often easy to access from there, they took on a public aspect.
Unlike the space inside the mansions, that around the exterior is often fully enclosed. One exception is a city block in the Vedado neighbourhood where several of these mansions stand in a former stone quarry. The effect of reusing space is felt here too but at a higher planning level. The quarry walls create a similarly communal character in the spaces between the houses though with a greater sense of the surreal.
Photographs provide an opportunity to understand and display the quality of these spaces. Different photographic techniques were used to illustrate all kinds of spatial themes. These pictures lay the basis for a series of drawings that flesh out the qualities of the spaces in greater detail.
The dual personality of the public spaces inside and between the mansions infuses the design brief with an element of conflict. This led to the notion of the Public Villa, inhabited space that is fully open to the public yet has a degree of enclosure. This concept has been adopted in the design for a boarding school.
Twenty-two identical wire frame cubes are variously linked together into flexible strings. The cubes house components of the programme. By combining the strings of cubes in all kinds of extreme ways, a model is created with countless possibilities within clearly defined limits, giving a complex spatial structure.
The boarding school is projected in an open area where a number of grids converge. Some government buildings, cultural institutions and sports complexes are assembled here, to which the boarding school is added as a freestanding building. The programme divides into three parts, with the public duties underground, the main entrance accessing the school at ground level and the children's living quarters on the upper floor.
The principal structure consists of concrete panels and is based on intersecting modules so that none of the spaces is entirely closed off. To make sure that the building can function correctly, some of the panels are of wood. These are of a flexible nature so that spaces can be temporarily closed off.
Differences in dimensions, light incidence, connections with other spaces and types of opening serve to generate spatial differentiation. Besides being a fanciful setting where children can wander and run laps, the differences in dimensions also provide seclusion. Spaces which only the children can access they can appropriate by creating their own world there. The idea of the Public Villa can add public value to private places without disturbing the children's private domain.