The Project was to design a CEIP 2L primary school that would conform to the functionality outlines devised by the Catalonia Regional Government’s Department of Education. The school has been built on a small plot and, as is standard for this kind of centre, arranged in a U shape around the infants’ playground, which frees up the rest of the plot for the primary playground. The school is in the Alameda district of Cornellá de Llobregat and is bounded on the north by a football pitch, on the east by Silici Street, by a green area on the south and by the Ronda de Dalt de Barcelona on the west.
All of the school’s support facilities – dining hall, kitchen, gymnasium, changing rooms, teching rooms and staff room – are housed in a first block on the ground floor, following on from the primary playground. The classroom block has been designed as a three-storey volume where the infants’ classrooms, which are south facing, lead directly onto their own playground through a porch, while the primary classrooms, on the first and second floors, which are accessed via a south facing corridor, receive daylight from the north. A small building that acts as a link between the two volumes described above houses the lobby, reception and facilities that could be independently accessed from outside: the library and the PTA.
A screen has been created out of stoneware ceramic tiles to afford passive protection from the sun on the south side of the corridors that lead to the primary classrooms. The tiles are 300mm x 200/100mm x 300mm and 22mm thick and are set at right angles to each other in a vertical plane (protruding outwards or inwards by 10cm). The sides that are most exposed to the sun have been glazed in two ranges of 3 different colours. The west-facing sides are in a range of 3 “spring” greens whilst the east-facing sides are in a combination of 3 earthy “autumn” colours.
The criteria applied to the construction solution for the screen have assured the structural stability and durability of the materials that have been used. The tiles have a groove all around their sides that means the vertical and horizontal joints were able to be strengthened by means of 6mm diameter stainless steel rings. A total of 7 vertical expansion joints were created, with horizontal bracing in the middle framework, 3 vertical bracings through the full height of the screen and side bracings at the two ends. The joints are 2cm thick and have been made in lime mortar with a plasticized aeration additive applied semi-dry. The additive provides the enough plasticity to accommodate possible shrinkages.