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Faculty of Education Sciences of the Campus of Pontevedra

Jesús Irisarri Castro y Guadalupe Piñera Manso, arquitectos

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The construction of the first phase of this university complex exemplifies how, through an intelligent analysis of the architecture, it is possible to provide a solution to the demands for sustainability without the need to resort to typical technological prostheses.

The development of the Pontevedra campus and of the buildings of the Faculty of Education Sciences and the CACTRI evidences the determination to recover the environmental quality of a place that still conserves its potential concealed underneath abandonment and uncontrolled development. Right from the start there was also the intention of creating an atmosphere that would be the result of the permeability of the architecture, highlighting the presence of the surroundings, as well as of the decision to make the various activities of university life play an active part.

The Education Sciences building (the only building erected to date) exploits the vast richness of scales and activities of its programme, transforming the transition and circulation spaces into mechanisms that share and boost the various activities, configuring it into strips at different heights with gallery and distribution rooms facing south and the central area of the campus and separating the programme into blocks for spatial uses and requirements. To the south, the classrooms appear as glazed galleries protected from the summer sun, while the departments have a translucent façade that occasionally becomes transparent and opens up to the central area.

The project uses the principles of bioclimatic architecture as a response to the conditioning factors of this place, and the opportunity that the construction will act as an incentive for the regeneration of the environment. The aim is to establish a relationship between medium and artifice that will be beneficial for both, and that through the presence and interaction of the construction with its medium it will be possible to maintain and improve the natural surroundings. This is all achieved through the architecture, understood not as the use of “environmental prostheses” but as an essential part of the way it is shaped.

The bioclimatic principle is here based on the idea of creating a “microclimatic envelope”, shaped by a shell holding the communal and circulation areas, committed to passive techniques provided by the architecture itself, to seek out the best energy response and above all the necessary environmental quality in the teaching spaces and relationship galleries. The protected landscape shaped in these galleries creates a semi-public space with exceptional climatic conditions.

The sought-for permeability of the landscape makes of this cellular polycarbonate and glass shell a perfect mechanism for capturing energy that the building then stores and distributes through the concrete forgings and floors. The partitions that close off the classrooms to the south, protected by a cement panel, also contribute to the storage of energy in the manner of a lightweight “trombe” wall. In summer, the floor-to-ceiling windows and those with a crosswise orientation generate both a draught effect and a crosswise flow that permanently ventilates the building.
The roofs covered in dark gravel and marine shells visually integrate the building into the natural surroundings while providing the necessary inertia. They collect and pour rainwater into wells in the ground.
The construction of the building and all its non-structural shells has been made with materials that entail a minimal energy cost in terms of build, while being easily recyclable. It is a type of construction that barely generates waste and also minimises the importance of transport in the construction.

A provisional development has been planned that is gradually transformed as the works press on and that provides the necessary services for simultaneous teaching uses. The aim is for a non-permanent action that will therefore be less aggressive and lower in cost. Semi-solid brick has been used for the flooring, recovered from rejects, contained within panels of changing geometry and limited by prefab joints. This flooring spreads out to become part of the terrain, while the meeting points with the existing development are resolved with gravel in two colours (black and white) and turf; the build enclosures are made from reinforced concrete rounds and protections, installed and worked in the manner of fences that integrate into the landscape.

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Situación: Campus da Xunqueira, Pontevedra. Autores: Jesús Irisarri Castro y Guadalupe Piñera Manso, arquitectos. Fase I (2004 – 2006): Sancho Paramo Cerqueira y Sandra Valverde, aparejadores. Constructor: O.H.L. Fases III y IV (2006 – 2008), fases II – laboratorios (2008 – 2009), fase vestuarios (2009 – 2010): Sancho Paramo Cerqueira, aparejador. Constructor: O.H.L. Estructuras: Antonio Reboreda Martínez. Instalaciones: Ana Mª Vigo, Manuel Lopega y Exinor. Estructuras e instalaciones: Ibinco. Colaboradores: Udo Thoenissen, Emilio Rodríguez Blanco, Jesús Vázquez , Maruxa Touceda, José Álvarez Rodríguez, Jorge Álvarez Rua, Lourdes Rey Rey, Sandra Formigo, Cristina Vázquez Lamas, Javier Curras Paredes. Promotor: Universidad de Vigo. Fotografía: Manuel González Vicente.
Jesús Irisarri Castro
Vigo, Pontevedra
Guadalupe Piñera Manso
Vigo, Pontevedra
Manuel González Vicente
Redondela, Pontevedra