Learning Center in Barceloneta District, Barcelona


Ferrovial Agroman
EC Compta Arquitectes
Nook Architects

Our project sits on one of the closed street blocks of the district.  A lineal building destined for housing reconstructs the perimeter of the block while the interior square is consolidated by a public learning center for children.

The entrance to the learning center’s playground, the apartment building’s lobby, and the underground parking ramp is made through a single, covered, double height passage way in order to allow a better visual relationship between the street and the interior of the street block.

The public building, a learning center for children, sits where an old industrial printing house once stood on the interior square of the street block.  It is an L-shaped structure, anchored between two party walls, consolidating the interior of the block and simultaneously defining the playground area, which is accessed directly from the street through the exterior, double height passage way.  The playground is paved with rubber tiles and a cylindrical volume that allows the underground parking to ventilate naturally, articulates its center.

Rather than being two different projects, the two buildings are unified on a single operation as a whole, interacting with one another and with the neighborhood thanks to a grand opening on the facade. This intervention has consolidated an emblematic street block within the Barceloneta district, linking neighboring facades from different times, leveling their height, and giving sense and purpose to their interior.

The learning center has two facades that are configured by the rhythm of the skylights that illuminate the classrooms.  These skylights are cladded with zinc plates through their entire length, reaching down almost to the floor, leaving more transparent sections between each of them that, depending on the breaks on the glass, create access doors between the playground and the interior, windows for ventilation, and fixed glass panels that allow for better monitoring of children playing outside.

Given that all of the neighboring buildings are much taller, the roof is treated as a third facade.   A playful combination of colors and change of heights not only define the composition of the roofline, but also reflect the different parts of the program on the inside of the building.  While the tallest parts, defined by the skylight, correspond to the classrooms and the kitchen, a lower height is maintained throughout the length of the corridors that sit behind them.  The roofline is once again elevated and covered with zinc above the administration offices that are ventilated and illuminated by means of high windows in the form of skylights.

The learning center is accessed from a spacious lobby from which two different corridors lead to the offices and classrooms.  Each of the four classrooms has their own skylight and a direct visual connection to the playground.  These can be transformed into six, smaller, independent classrooms by means of large sliding doors.  The rest of the building contains administration offices, a teacher’s lounge, bathrooms, a storage room, and mechanical rooms.

Each of the interior elements is differentiated through the use of materials.  The lower ceilings are covered with sound absorbing panels, while the higher parts, belonging to the skylights, are covered with drywall.

The classrooms can be distinguished from one another by the color of its finishes on the floor and wainscot.


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