Promoted by the District Department of Education and convened by the Colombian Society of Architects of Bogotá D.C. and Cundinamarca, a Public Contest was held in 2013 to select the best design proposal for a School in the town of Fontibón. The architectural firm FP architecture wins the first position of the contest with a proposal that calls: A classroom a patio, a school a large patio. Finally, the school is built and inaugurated at the end of 2017, and selected by the Inter-American Development Bank-IDB as one of the most innovative schools in Latin America, highlighting its integration with the community and creative design applied to a contemporary educational model.

Main idea
In contrast to the traditional schemes of organization of educational facilities, of the corridors of classrooms and corridors on one side, the school La felicidad is conceived under a computer principle that consists of a series of courtyards that articulate each one of the components of the program, functioning as open-air extensions of educational spaces. This makes it possible to take activities outside the classroom and allows their integration with nature.

School organization
The school is organized into four large areas that are arranged around a large central courtyard. On the south side, the primary classrooms are organized on the first level and the secondary ones on the second level. On the north side, with a separate access, the preschool classrooms are located on one level. The school restaurant and the auditorium are located on the western side. On the eastern side, as the representative volume of the whole, is the center of integrated resources, the library and administrative spaces. Part of this block rises from the ground allowing transparency and accessibility to the main courtyard and generating the possibility of integration with the neighborhood.

Contribution to the pedagogical processes
By having patios and terraces of different scales as an extension of educational spaces, students are allowed to have greater contact with natural light, vegetation and open spaces. While the teachers are offered the possibility of performing other non-habitual pedagogical activities such as the cultivation of kitchen gardens or outdoor group work. The courtyards of various scales (courtyards, playgrounds and the main courtyard) are conceived as spaces for democratic life, allowing the meeting and recognition between students and teachers as part of an academic community, and in a sense wider, as citizens.

Technical and economic feasibility
We propose a structure in two-level porticoes in concrete and a reduced palette of materials: exposed brick walls, cobbled floors and stoneware, tempered clear glass windows and anodized gray aluminum, steel pipe for handrails and grilles. All resistant materials, low maintenance and low cost that do not require specialized labor.

Source (In Spanish): Plataforma Arquitectura

Images: Alejandro Arango for Plataforma Arquitectura