+ Project description of Telheiro School provided by architect, José Marini Bragança
Telheiro School is located in a recently developed urban area. The land is shaped in an imperfect triangle defined by walls, and it has 2 buildings facing each other. José Marini Bragança designed yet another building and altered the existing landscape by improving the playground and by creating a public area.
Although initially my intervention could seem limited, the result proved otherwise, since it consisted in the reconfiguration of the school land. It was necessary to organize the space as a whole.
José Marini Bragança,
The new complimentary equipment consists of kitchen, cafeteria, multifunction room, area of leisure, toilets and staff room, all in the same space. The different uses resulted in alterations in the structure as well as in the finishing materials used. For example, the ceiling height varies – it is higher in the multifunction room –, the walls and ceiling of the leisure area were lined with wooden grids, and the cafeteria ceiling was painted in yellow. The balance created by these different characteristics makes the space cozy, which is reinforced by the zenithal illumination used in the leisure areas and in the kitchen and toilets.
The entrance of the building is marked by a wooden fence, which defines the entrance hall furnished with a bench that runs along the wall. This is the only partition that exists in all the activities area which consists of the cafeteria, the area of leisure and the multifunction room. The cafeteria is identified by its mosaic floor, a yellow painted ceiling and 2 large railed windows which allow the playground to be seen. It is in this area full of tables and chairs near the kitchen that the students have their meals. When the mosaic changes to wooden floor and the walls and ceilings are lined with dark wooden grids, we are at the area of leisure, a space with a cozy atmosphere.
The windows were reduced proportionally to the children’s scale – long wide horizontal strips. Above there is also an entry of natural light which equally contributes to a tranquil atmosphere. When the ceiling height doubles we enter the multifunction room, with ropes swinging from the ceiling, zenithal lighting and bleaches fixed on the wall. The front wall is made of glass, allowing this area to be more free and transparent and with a strong connection with the exterior. When we open the doors the room can extend to the patio covered by rubber flooring. The fact that the school is attended by a small group of students allowed that part of the building could be designed as an extension of the playground. On the west side, accompanying the common area, the other facilities were built: kitchen, toilets and staff room. The children’s toilets has natural light entering by the ceiling which, together with the blue tiles representing the sky that cover the walls, confer a fantasy like feeling to the location. In these areas the windows to the exterior are limited. This does not occur on the opposite side of the building which opens to the playground with large windows in two different scales: the children’s scale, with windows close to the ground along the wall, and that of the teachers, with wide windows.
The urban landscape surrounding the school motivated José Marini Bragança to transform the school area in a cozy and protected space. Therefore, a pergola was built on the east side connecting to the old buildings and it also forms a central courtyard where some pine trees were planted. On the outside, surrounding the school land, a public area was implemented. On the right side, on the east, a large wall was built in order to avoid landslide from the hill. A small garden and a large sidewalk were created. The sidewalk is illuminated at night by the school pergola. On the opposite side of the new building a small wall and a road were built, to reorganize the space.
Instead of surrounding the whole land by a wall, I first defined the limits of the school and then designed the public area around it. It is a constant concern of my projects – I always take into account the public area, the other people, and I integrate this concern in whatever project I am developing. As a result, schools have more quality. The city is to be enjoyed by all citizens.
José Marini Bragança
+ Project credits
Client: Câmara Municipal de Leiria
Architect: José Marini Bragança
Colaborator: Inês Vicente
Structures: Rui Matos
Water and sewage system: Rui Matos
Electricity, telephone and network system: Álvaro Lopes
Gas: Álvaro Lopes
Central heating: João Aguilar Ramos
Fire safety hazards: Paulo Vasconcelos
Landscaping: Paula Simões e Catarina Patrão
Photographs: Catarina Costa Cabral, José Marini Bragança Architects (images A, B, C, D)
+ Photographs annotation
01: Elevation of the new building and access
02: Entrance area and part of the cafeteria
03: Area of leisure
04: Multifunction room
05: Protective wall which configures the court-yard
06: Access to service area and new pedestrian walk
07: View to the west from the new service access
08: Night view of the new building court-yard
+ All images courtesy José Marini Bragança