THE URBAN, ARCHITECTURAL AND SOCIAL PROJECT
Background and Context Since 2008, 21 new kindergartens have been built in Medellín in barrios with problems of insecurity and social inequality. The El Pinal Kindergarten was awarded through a public architectural tender and has been conceived as a space for education, culture and life. The project is located on the slopes of the central – eastern area of Medellín, in a sector of unplanned settlements and informal housing.
The Urban and Architectural Project A kindergarten is a place to begin the processes of education and socialization, sharing and learning through play and meeting. It proposes a program that goes beyond its essential functions: besides being a place for education and a shelter for children, it is an open – door space for families and communities; a place to strengthen the social fabric, a system composed of different spaces that articulate urban spaces with places for learning.
- TheSan JoséPlaza:A place for community gatherings. It is the foyer (antesala) that articulates the project with the barrio. - The Threshold (El Umbral): A covered area integrating the administrative volumes, the courtyard and the classrooms. - The Courtyard (El Patio):The central area of the project, with a natural and artificial forest. A place for meeting, playing and education through games. - The Street (La Calle):Adjacent to the courtyard, it leads to the maternal area, dining room, administration, medical area and body – language room. - The Teaching and Interaction Classrooms (Las Salas de Enseñanza e Interacción): Volumes integrated by the roof that consist of a small neighborhood where the children are its inhabitants. The classrooms separate to generateviews from the courtyard towards the city; spaces for learning related to the outside world. - The Balcony (El Balcón): An outdoor lookout that complements education through awareness in children in the care of nature.
The Environmental Project The modular elements of the roof reduce temperatures and generate textures of light and shadow. The teaching and interaction classrooms cast a shadow on the courtyard, which is reinforced by wind currents from the south. The crosswind among the separations of the classrooms allows a favorable exchange of temperature and improves air quality. The use of mechanical equipment for the air conditioning of the project has been eliminated. The future possibility of installing solar panels on the roof (El Umbral) – so that the building produces its own energy that will be used for lighting and water heating – has been proposed. Rainwater catchment through the roof allows the irrigation of the gardens of the project. The building teaches the care of natural resources and the preservation of the environment.
A Space for Teaching and Family Meetings The El Pinal Kindergarten has been conceived as a place for early childhood, the family and the community. In the social context of the city and its recent history, each architectural intervention should transcend its original function and enable inclusion and the strengthening of the family structure. This open – door architecture, with courtyards and lookouts, takes the essence of the urban and domestic space with the object of creating meeting places.