Montilla. Crdoba

Extension of a High school

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Project Description


The “Inca Garcilaso” Secondary School in Montilla (Córdoba) was built in the seventies with a dense prismatic layout, arranged along a central dark corridor served by two isolated staircases. Later in the eighties, an addition was erected at its back façade, making both its circulations and its relations with the exterior even more confusing.


When commissioned to design a large extension for the High School, we had the chance to redefine the spatial sequence of the whole, inserting a series of voids and intermediate spaces in order to create a sense of communal interaction for its users.


The general circulation scheme can now be described as the intersection of two large voids: one horizontal, which connects the new porch at the entrance with the porch by the playground, and one vertical: a large atrium located by the junction of the main corridors. The interior of the building is not opaque or dark anymore. In a sort of metaphor of an institution open to society, the main axis is now transparent for viewers in the street and, at the same time, the atrium can be used as a central plaza, where students and teachers meet and perform.


In the general layout, it is relevant the location of the new library, as a small pavilion attached to the main façade and conforming the entrance porch. It can open independently from the rest the building and somehow appears, not only metaphorically, as the head of the composition, with the gym at its opposite edge.


The construction was to be made without interrupting the classes of the former High School, so that it needed to be quite fast and organized, using pre-stressed hollow-core slabs and steel columns. To make the new building meet with the fire regulations (more demanding nowadays than in the seventies) two more exterior staircases were to be added.

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