Going up from Gravesano, after many twists and turns, the road emerges from the woods and the new building appears, like the gate of the town of Arosio, a prelude to the space of the valley that opens, descending in gentle contours, toward the Magliasina River.
To the west, a large wall defines and contains the space of the garden, a “hortus conclusus”, seen as a sheltered place for outdoor recreational activities. Suddenly the wall arches to become the building, taking on almost the profile of a sphinx, a reminder of mythical images and childhood fables. The construction has an entrance portico to the east, an element of transition between the public space and the internal educational activities, a meeting place of social relations.
The portico leads to the lobby-cloakroom and the other spaces, designed and organized in keeping with a clear logic of served spaces (the large dining hall, the library, the teachers’ room) and service spaces (rest rooms, pantries, storerooms). In the background, the large yellow wall, caressed by a magical light captured who knows where, is the unifying element of reference for the entire entrance level.
From the lobby-cloakroom the visit proceeds to the classrooms on the upper level: the children climb up to the first floor, “inhaled” by a “toboggan” staircase, the first playful element of an architecture that focuses on its relationship with children throughout the building. The large glazing to the west faces the garden: the landscape is framed, like a painting, by the plane of the floor and the slightly rising plane of the canopy.
Here children rediscover the gentle silhouettes of the mountains of Malcantone, familiar points of reference that have accompanied them since birth. To the east, a long ribbon window at the height of a child’s gaze permits only the children to look out at a less familiar world, that of the city, whose nearby presence is sensed, and of the mountains, and of the mountains of other regions in the distance.
Inside, the space is governed by light, colors, transparency and lightness: elements that seem to encourage learning of everything that is good, simple, cheerful and true. Architecture whose spirit is close to the world of toys, like the big yellow box that contains the rest rooms, the blue prism of the elevator, the red planes that set the rhythm of the windows, the large wooden cube-container in the garden, which watches over the facility at night, like a glowing lantern. A simple, minimal work of architecture, measured but also engaging, close to the language and the needs of its principal inhabitants: the children.