About the project
The design of Reggio School is based on the idea that architectural environments can prompt in children a desire for exploration and inquiry. In this way, the building is thought of as a complex ecosystem that makes it possible for students to direct their own education through a process of self-driven collective experimentation—following pedagogical ideas that Loris Malaguzzi and parents in the Italian city of Reggio nell’Emilia developed to empower children’s capacity to deal with unpredictable challenges and potentials.
Avoiding homogenization and unified standards, the architecture of the school aims to become a multiverse where the layered complexity of the environment becomes readable and experiential. It operates as an assemblage of different climates, situations, and regulations. Its vertical progression stacks a ground floor, engaged with the terrain, where classrooms for younger students are placed, and a second floor where students in intermediate levels coexist with water and soil tanks that nourish an indoor forest reaching the upper levels under a greenhouse structure. Classrooms for older students are organized around this inner forest, as in a small village. This distribution of uses implies an ongoing maturity process that is translated into the growing capacity of students to explore the school ecosystem on their own.
The second floor is conceived as the main social gathering space of the school. More than 26-feet high, in the empty space around the roots of the inner forest, the big central space of around 5,000 square-feet provides a cosmopolitical agora where vegetation, water, and soil frame a changing program of gymnasium, art classroom, conference and events hall, and gathering space for school assemblies. Services, waste management, and storage are part of the processes the school’s architecture provides access to. Thanks to this material-transparency dynamic inserted in the circulation system of the school, students and the educational community can grow and evolve around common discussions.
Andrés Jaque / Office for Political Innovation
Team: Roberto González García, Luis González Cabrera, Alberto Heras, Paola Pardo-Castillo, Juan David Barreto, Inês Barros, Elise Durand, Bansi Mehta