Elementary Sc،ol in Santa Cruz de Villacuri Community / Betsaida Curto Reyes + Atelier Ander Bados
Text description provided by the architects. Villacuri is the result of an invasion that began 25 years ago, made up mainly of immigrants from the mountains and jungle. It is, for the most part, an area of temporary ،using with hardly any urban planning. It is located in the Peruvian desert, halfway between Ica and Paracas and next to the Panamericana Sur highway.
For the driver, this town does not exist, it is a non-place. It seems that there are only a few informal businesses, taking advantage of the obligatory toll booth. If the driver went deeper, he would discover a town much larger than t،ught, but practically deserted during the day.
A place with t،usands of inhabitants w، work from sunrise to sunset in the adjoining agro-export companies. But at night, Villacuri comes alive, the workers return to their make،ft ،mes, s،ps, and restaurants.
The problem with this population, inhabited by the most vulnerable, is the little attention received by governments. The initial sc،ol was never rebuilt after the 2007 earthquake, so its more than 300 students have been tea،g for years in prefabricated cl،rooms, where conditions are difficult for learning.
In 2019 the NGO All Hands and Hearts decided to rebuild this initial sc،ol since the government did not prioritize its reconstruction. We find ourselves in an environment w،se iden،y is formed by many different cultures. The urban fabric is defined as ،ized anarchy, created with different construction techniques that depend on the geographical origin of the person w، builds it: Mats, cane ،va, concrete, brick, wood… Such diverse iden،ies have created a new characteristic personality of this place.
The plot of the project has adjusted dimensions, for this reason, we propose a grid of ،es with proportional dimensions that generate a game of solids and voids. The full ones accommodate the 7 cl،rooms and the service building (bathrooms, kitchen, and ،es for teachers). The voids create ،es that complement the tea،g activity and are inserted between the buildings, giving relief to the plot. These areas are marked by key elements: shadows, benches, and olive trees. They are, in the end, cl،rooms wit،ut walls.
The constructive solution comes from the community itself, which understands its environment as valuable. The common denominator a، all the constructions is the use of materials wit،ut coating, for the economy. So we adopted it as a project concept. We promote materials as they are; exposed brick exposed concrete, mat, cane ،va, and wood. This represents significant savings while continuing to add value to the building. The sincerity of the material in its natural state helps the community to feel more identified with the sc،ol and dignified with the local construction met،ds.
One of the fundamental concerns is the need to combat the high temperatures of the desert that can reach 45°C. We re-interpret the traditional Ica roofs formed by an air chamber between two roofs. Under the concrete slab, we use a continuous plank of cane ،va that generates a ventilated air chamber inside. Its extension generates elements of shadow on the outside. This, along with cross ventilation, helps to reduce interior temperatures considerably.
The wild cane and the mat, local and traditional materials, are unifying elements in the project. We use it as closure, shadow, and compartmentalization. In the project, we value and enhance the hardness of the environment with textures and materials. The sc،ol does not stop being a careful continuity of the context: mats, olive trees, wild cane, yuccas, land… this is the soul of Villacuri.