2022

MCHAP

CBT Toledo Educational Center

Dirección Sectorial de Infraestructura - ANEP

Toledo, Uruguay

May 2020

PRIMARY AUTHOR

Juan Caorsi Castillo

CONTRIBUTING AUTHOR

Cristina Guido, Sebastián Estol, Camila Harguindeguy

CLIENT

ANEP - Representative: Mario Corrales Ponti

PHOTOGRAPHER

Mateo Rodríguez Matonte

OBJECTIVE

CBT Toledo is removed from the street to provide the neighborhood with a public space to offer further bonding within the community as an urban scale reference, while preserving its independent singular spatiality inside so as to offer a vital experience secluded from the surroundings.
The entirety of the building is configured as a large “L”, that can be seen from the entrance and constitutes a “plaza”, and a “street” inside, with several areas for study, play and lounges, suppressing the corridor space and the programmatic zoning of the classes interspersed with the patios and gardens throughout the perimeter.
The one storey building, placed in the middle of the terrain enables it to manage its impact on the site, gaining height at the entrance and embedded in the ground which reduces its presence with the descent of the slope.
The connection to the exterior is materialized at the entrance which is integrated to the public space, while the rest of the outer walls clearly define the perimeter, but at low height that softens its rigidity by the use of artisanal bricks and cut-out of the openings.
Due to budget restrictions, the project makes the most of the materiality of the rustic work, tinging the raw textures with the localized use of melamine sheets, elements of color and figurative representations such as stamped ceramics or casting a painted shade on the pavement.

CONTEXT

Toledo is a small, low density commuter suburb of approximately 19,000 inhabitants within the metropolitan area of Montevideo. The town does not have a defined centrality and the area is uncharacterized.
In a suburban area with social housing and facing a neighborhood of low- income, detached houses, on terrain with a 5-meter difference in level on its sides, a public education institution is built for the purpose of teaching technical skills to students on a low budget.
The project is developed with the objective to resolve 3 main issues presented by the architectural programming, the surroundings, and the low-cost budget: To offer an inviting and motivating learning environment to attract a segment of the student population. School attendance for this group in town is 60.5%, which is below national school attendance average standards. Secondly, to resolve the conflict scale within the neighborhood by a unique building integrated with the landscape, without causing significant visual impact. Thirdly, to optimize the low budget without imposing limits upon the architecture or the quality of the building.

PERFORMANCE

Two months prior to finalizing the works, The National Educational Authorities decided not to open a new school, but to transfer the run-down Technical School of Toledo to the new building instead. The challenge led to adapting the building to a new architecture program to suit new needs and requirements within the framework of a Technical School.
Several infrastructure adjustments were made according to the specific needs of several workshops without substantial changes, resulting in a new building successfully adapted for a Technical School. Its introverted design surrounded by the large structure runs independently from smaller specific allocated spaces. Also, its size and adaptability has further enabled successful resolution to unforeseen circumstances, such as the deployment of mobile panels to enable temporary spaces for classes so as to respond effectively to the conditions brought about by the pandemic.
The proposed solution in regard to scale is adequate. From the exterior, the low height building does not have substantial visual impact as being a large construction despite the extension of its perimeter walls. The size can be noted fully only once inside the building.
Albeit the negative impact of some new buildings within the neighborhood, others have been influenced by the design of the institution using similar resources such as interspersed brick walls.