Vilanova Primary School – Vilanova i La Geltrú

This is a primary school with three forms per year.

The land set aside for the school is trapezoidal in shape and has a marked unevenness at its western vertex, with a difference in height of 7m from the site’s lowest point. The area is quite large and this allowed us to position the whole school project on the southeast side, where there are no topographical accidents of any significance, thereby leaving the western side as a wooded area where various inclines are created to link the existing level with that of the playing fields and playgrounds.

The school is made up of three wings connected by a central portico. There is the main school, the kindergarten area and the gymnasium. The portico acts as a hub between the three buildings, it provides a shelter where the children can play when the weather is bad, and it also links the main school with the gymnasium.

The kindergarten area works almost like an independent school, it enjoys all of the services of the general school, and shares the offices and dining room, and it has an independent entrance and outdoor play area .

For the floor plan we have used two different composition systems. One composition system was the repetition of a module on a smaller scale, this is what we have done in the kindergarten wing where we have a repetition of the ground floor. The second composition system was to group together the same module on the upper floors, but in a different way, in order to achieve the scale that a building like a primary school requires. The criteria of repetition of this element, already described in previous projects, take us one step further, and give us movement in both the floor plan as well as in the height of the building.

In this case, orientation and the need to protect played an important role, the classrooms on the first floor face south and need a sun filter, so we tried to remove the apertures; the smallest ones contain nothing, and the larger ones consist of moveable blinds. On the north facing side, the skin of the building is made with fixed elements such as cement plates and also some mobile elements, in this way, the north and south façades form a module – not in this case like an industrialised element – structured in such a way that the collection of windows and apertures in each classroom can be understood as a unique part of the general composition as a whole.