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Patios de educación Pre-básica, Básica y Media Colegio San Lucas

Fundación Patio Vivo

Santiago, Región Metropolitana, Chile

March 2023


Álvaro Benitez (Director de Arquitectura)



Colegio San Lucas, Lo Espejo


Álvaro Benitez


The Learning Landscape of the San Lucas School in Lo Espejo was designed for preschool, elementary, middle and high school children, where the aim was to strengthen the sense of community, belonging and active play in contact with nature.
The project proposes to return the activity to two playgrounds with a very low use, due to the lack of infrastructure, vegetation and extreme temperatures during the winter and summer. It proposes to organize the courtyards based on metal and wooden platforms and slopes of various sizes and heights, thus encouraging different uses: slopes and concrete blocks for climbing; raised planters to bring nature closer; calisthenics bars; and a pergola for sharing and learning in the open classroom.
The sterile ecological desert of 1,125 mts2 of concrete was regenerated by incorporating draining pavements and 300 mts2 of a sloping garden whose use was forbidden. The impermeable layer was removed, the soil was stirred and covered with gravel, mulch, and topsoil, materials that allow water to infiltrate the soil and favor the growth of plant species. As a result, they regulate the ambient temperature. Trees were planted to provide a natural filter for particulate matter, help reduce the temperature with their foliage, and return moisture to the air. They also bring color to the school, which is essential in the socioeconomically vulnerable contexts in Chile, where the lack of green areas is a permanent social debt.


In the field of education, care and learning are complementary and interrelated dimensions. Children and adolescents are able to learn as long as they feel calm, safe and find a place. The school landscape, the building, the classrooms and the playgrounds communicate a vision of the world and a conception of learning. Comins Mingol, in Filosofía del Cuidar (2009), proposes educating competencies for care based on school environments that promote experiences where students learn to take care of others and the environment.
In this sense, schoolyards have an enormous potential to promote learning through experience and care: “A properly planned and constructed physical environment amplifies and enhances people's diverse ways of learning” (Lippman, 2012: 4). Thus, we can move from hard, flat and hostile playgrounds to Learning Landscapes that communicate an idea of care, where the space welcomes students and, at the same time, where they learn to take care of plants, bugs, play structures and their peers.
Alvaro Benitez, as Director of the Patio Vivo Foundation, transforms schoolyards into Learning Landscapes, places that promote the socioemotional, physical and cognitive well-being of children and adolescents. Through a dialogue between education and architecture, the community's vision is articulated with the physical environment and culture, promoting the development of soft skills through play and contact with nature.


Today, the playgrounds have become the center of activity during recess, attracting children and adolescents who used to wander in the halls or corridors. The incorporation of multifunctional structures has fostered the development of leadership that did not exist before, when soccer took over the playgrounds. Children now find a playground that welcomes their desire to play, move and share with their friends. Teachers, for their part, find a place that allows them to expand their teaching possibilities, and move many of their classes outside in contact with nature. Free and challenging play, exploration and observation of the cycles of nature, the possibility of developing physical skills in the new play structures acquire a very important role in the inclusion of previously isolated people putting the playground as a main stage and agent of care, and placing the “experience of playing” of the students at the center as an educational model.

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