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ARQ (Santiago)

versión On-line ISSN 0717-6996

ARQ (Santiago)  no.106 Santiago dic. 2020 

Works & projects

Reggio School. Encinar de los Reyes, Madrid, España, 2019

Andrés Jaque / Office for Political Innovation


If schools are places where children and teenagers learn to live in society, the standardization of these buildings transmits an idea of order typical of a disciplinary society. This project, on the contrary, dismantles order and replaces it with a space in which girls and boys interact with the building, water, plants, earth, and a series of elements with whom they coexist while, incidentally, learn to face the complexities of a world that is not at all orderly.

Keywords: coexistence; school; forest; education; project

Figure 1 Axonometric drawing 

The design of Reggio School is based on the idea that architectural environments can prompt in children a desire for exploration and inquiry. In this way, the building is thought of as a complex ecosystem that makes it possible for students to direct their own education through a process of self-driven collective experimentation - following pedagogical ideas that Loris Malaguzzi and parents in the Italian city of Reggio nell’Emilia developed to empower children’s capacity to deal with unpredictable challenges and potentials.

Figure 2 

Figure 3 

Avoiding homogenization and unified standards, the architecture of the school aims to become a multiverse where the layered complexity of the environment becomes readable and experiential. It operates as an assemblage of different climates, situations, and regulations. Its vertical progression stacks a ground floor, engaged with the terrain, where classrooms for younger students are placed, and a second floor where students in intermediate levels coexist with water and soil tanks that nourish an indoor forest reaching the upper levels under a greenhouse structure. Classrooms for older students are organized around this inner forest, as in a small village. This distribution of uses implies an ongoing maturity process that is translated into the growing capacity of students to explore the school ecosystem on their own.

Figure 4 Section AA 

Figure 5 Ground floor plan. 

Figure 6 Second level plan 

Figure 7 Section BB 

Figure 8 Third level plan 

Figure 9 Mezanine level plan 

Figure 10 Fourth level plan 

Figure 11 Section CC 

The second floor is conceived as the main social gathering space of the school. More than 26-feet high, in the empty space around the roots of the inner forest, the big central space of around 5,000 square-feet provides a cosmopolitical agora where vegetation, water, and soil frame a changing program of gymnasium, art classroom, conference and events hall, and gathering space for school assemblies. Services, waste management, and storage are part of the processes the school’s architecture provides access to. Thanks to this material-transparency dynamic inserted in the circulation system of the school, students and the educational community can grow and evolve around common discussions.

Reggio School

Architects: Andrés Jaque / Office for Political Innovation

Contributors: Roberto González García, Luis González Cabrera, Alberto Heras, Paola Pardo-Castillo, Juan David Barreto, Inês Barros, Ludovica Battista, Elise Durand, Bansi Mehta, Jesús Meseguer Cortés, Alessandro Peja

Client: Colegio Reggio, Madrid

Structural engineering: QL Engineering

Services engineering: JG Engineering

Project year: 2019

Construction year: 2019-2020

Quantity Survey: Dirtec

Andrés Jaque / Office for Political Innovation

Andrés Jaque / Office for Political Innovation (OFFPOLINN) is an international architectural practice, based in New York and Madrid, working at the intersection of design, research, and critical environmental practices. The office develops transmedia and interscalar projects, intended to bring inclusivity into the built environment.

The office has been awarded with the Frederick Kiesler Prize, the most important distinction celebrating trajectories in the boundaries of art and architecture, the Silver Lion to the Best Project of the XIV Biennale di Venezia, and the Dionisio Hernández Gil Prize to the intervention on historical enclaves. Their work is part of the MoMA Collection in New York, and the Art Institute of Chicago among others.

Andrés Jaque is the Director of Columbia University, Advanced Architectural Design Program; and he has been Visiting Professor at Princeton University and Cooper Union.

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