Architecture team: Marta Maccaglia, Paulo Afonso + Ignacio Bosch, Borja Bosch
Construction takes place in the community of Santa Elena, in the rural Selva Central region of Peru. The project started with research to determine the community’s strengths and weaknesses, and to discuss the hopes and wishes of its citizens. The citizens expressed their desire to rebuild their future and put behind them a painful past of political abandonment and considerable suffering due to terrorism. Ultimately, education has been the most effective tool for collective growth in the community of Santa Elena.
The school accommodates 200 students, and gives young people in this rural area the opportunity to continue secondary level studies. It is strategically located close to several population centres, making it accessible for the greatest possible number of students.
The infrastructure consists of a compact volume with a large sports yard. The construction includes covered “open” spaces, a double-height central hall, and a corridor along the axis of the infrastructure connecting the classrooms to the administrative block. All spaces “between the classrooms,” such as laboratories and the library, were promoted as “open spaces,” for public use.
The architectural proposal was tailored to the geographical, morphological, and climatic conditions of the area, and to the cultural and social conditions of the community. In most cases, the school in a rural community serves not only as a place to study, but also as a place for recreation and one where anyone in the community can get together. Santa Elena is another example of a village where a school provides the only real “public” infrastructure.