This private school is located in a new business district in Oeiras, 15 km away from Lisbon. Our client employs the High Scope method, which encourages children to participate in their own learning, making them responsible for this process, with the aim of better preparing them for the adulthood.

Project Name: Escola Nautas
Project Location: Oeiras, Portugal
Site Area: 2669 m2
Built Area: 1529 m2
Project Completion: Ongoing
Project by: Camarim
Project Architects: Vasco Correia, Patrícia Sousa
Collaborators: Tiago Garrido, Eliana Gonçalves, Jonas Grinevicius, Christoph Schwander
Project Copyright: Camarim

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How can the school’s physical space encourage this didactic process? Analyzing divergent solutions we understood that the circulation and the relationship with the outside are two key aspects in the experience of the school and the link between learning and real life. From the plot’s natural slope of the plot we defined a building that develops along a spiral and provides views to the outside and the school itself that are always changing according to the observer’s position. The spiral connects effectively various components of the school brief and various education levels, arousing curiosity and interaction among students and between students and teachers.

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By lifting from the ground, the spiral leaves an open and continuous outdoor space in a plot that would otherwise be too small for a building this size. Beneath the spiral we create several playground areas sheltered from the rain and the sun.

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We observed that present-day schools require cooling during 80% of the school year and so we developed a solution in which classrooms are north-oriented and circulation is south-oriented. In addition to avoiding excessive solar gains, the northern light’s uniformity is more suitable for studying and spares the use of curtains or other active sun protection devices. The spiral’s position maximizes wind capture, allowing a cost reduction in mechanical ventilation and cooling systems – as well as the energy bill – of 33% when compared to a conventional school building.


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