Facelift for Ecuador educational facility

Niki May Young
Monday 11 Aug 2008

Vargas Arquitectos aim to challenge the stereotypical conception of educational spaces

Vargas Arquitectos won a national competition organized by the Board of Architects of Ecuador in 2002 at the XIII Bienal de Arquitectura de Quito with this design and now the construction begins. Vargas Arquitectos is a young local firm directed by three Vargas siblings in operation since 1996 and specializing in commercial and educational buildings.

The new department of electronic, computer science and graphic design of the High school of Chimborazo covers a surface of 271,277 sq m and is situated on a characteristically uneven plot of land in Chimborazo, a town of 170.000 inhabitants in the centre of Ecuador at an altitude of 2,754m and surrounded by 5 volcanoes. The town, rebuilt in 1797 after an earthquake, has strong neoclassic and Spanish influences but modern structures make up for the 85% of its architectural landscape.

The main concept of the project is the creation of a generous central space known as the “central patio” that animates educational activities with classrooms, workshops and labs linked by bridges, metal stairs and corridors. The building is devised as a three storey collection of separate volumes that connect and superimpose forming a sole building. The landscape surrounding the campus has been carefully planned to include access ways, pleasant walks, patios, gardens and sport facilities.

The project is currently in its first stage of construction and completion is scheduled for the end of 2009.

Laura Salmi

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