Spaces to learn. Architecture and Teaching (III) | Raquel Martínez – Alberto Ruiz

New educational spaces to the heat of the modern movement and the new pedagogic expositions

The irruption of the modern movement in the architectural European panorama produced the first examples of school typology really evolved. The certain thing is that the building of social court was in few occasions a central topic of the modern, great movement more centred on the development of the housing, but some of the premises of his search of a new architectural language for the new company of the 20th century were applied of direct form to the new educational spaces. The access of some with these architects to charges of responsibility in the town halls – specially in Germany and the Low Countries – helped also on that the municipal labor of promotion of the public school was accompanied of new pedagogic expositions. Willem Dudok’s works, at the head of the town hall of Hilversum, Ernst May in Frankfurt, or Dark and Max Taut, in Berlin, they suppose the first attempts of definition of school modern buildings of public promotion. In spite of the differences in exposition of these offers – contradicting the supposed uniformity of language inside the modern movement – we can find certain unvariants more conceptual than formal.

One of the most interesting it supposes the progressive “atomization” of the school building, which finds in the organization of independent pavilions an ideal form of spatial composition, removed from the monumental inflexibility of the school traditional building. This disposition appears for the need to obtain the major surface of possible front and the possibility of playing with the different orientation of every space, according to his needs of lighting and ventilation, and it will come to his development more elaborated in the Headquarters of the Bauhaus, in Dessau, projected in 1925 by Walter Gropius..

Bornheimer School. Frankfurt. Arq. Ernst May, 1927 | Source: BURGOS RUIZ, Francisco. La arquitectura del aula

We can find examples in the disposition in the shape of comb, with the individual courts of every classroom orientated in the eastern part, looking for the morning lighting of the classes, of a building as the School Bornheimer, of Ernst May (1927) or in the surprising platform demolished of the court of the PeterSchule, of Hannes Meyer and Hans Wittmer (1926). Both buildings, beyond the search of a formal modern language, answer undoubtedly to the adoption of concepts of maximum utilization of the lighting and of disposition of spaces for outdoors, so basic game in our current schools, but so revolutionary for these first years of the 20th century.

PeterSchule, Basilea. Arq. Meyer y Wittwer, 1927 | Source: CURTIS, William. La arquitectura moderna desde 1900.

The last development of the optimization of lighting and ventilation takes to the model offer of School outdoors, that appellant will turn into a model, specially in the Netherlands. The example most typical of this type of accomplishment we find it in Jan Duiker’s design for Ámsterdam. The School is placed in a court of plot and arranges his classrooms in the diagonals of a square plant, alternated with a terrace opened for south orientation, which allows the direct communication with the classrooms. The situation of the core of communications in the center of the composition allows to liberate completely the fronts to obtain a maximum surface of lighting.

School outdoors. Amsterdam. Arq. Jan Duiker. It plants type and image of epoch | Sources: BURGOS RUIZ, Francisco. La arquitectura del aula and Tumblr

Raquel Martínez and Alberto Ruiz

architects, teachers and investigators

Madrid. april 2014



GARCIA PABLOS, Rodolfo. Construcciones Escolares. Curso organizado por el gobierno español como colaboración al proyecto principal de la UNESCO. Madrid: Dirección General de Enseñanza Primaria, 1962

LANDROVE, Susana, ed. Equipamientos I. Lugares públicos y nuevos programas, 1925-1965. Registro DoCoMoMo Ibérico. Barcelona: Fundación Caja de Arquitectos: Fundación DOCOMOMO ibérico, 2010

BURGOS RUIZ, Francisco. La arquitectura del aula. Nuevas escuelas madrileñas, 1868-1968. Madrid: Ayuntamiento de Madrid. Área de las Artes, 2007

A.C. Documentos de Actividad Contemporánea. nº 9. Primer trimestre de 1933. Barcelona Madrid San Sebastián: G.A.T.E.P.A.C. (Grupo de Arquitectos y Técnicos Españoles para el Progreso de la Arquitectura Contemporánea), 1931-1937

Resources on line:

Stepien y Barno´s blog. La enseñanza según Louis Kahn [on line] April, 2010 [It Consults in July, 2012] Available in web

ALVES GONÇALVES, Polyanna. Herman Hertzberger. Edificios Escolares [on line]. October, 2009, 2010 [It Consults in July, 2012] Available in web

Es Doctor Arquitecto por la ETSAM, compaginando su actividad profesional con la docencia y la investigación en la URJC. Los artículos son un reflejo de la inquietud, reflexión y pensamiento en torno a mi pasión: la arquitectura.

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