The Nursery situated in the Old Quarter provides the resources which were highly demanded by the oldest district of the city.
Located on Paseo Echegaray y Caballero within the up-to-date San Pablo Park and adjacent to both Forest headquarters and the nearby river Ebro, the nursery is situated in the ideal environment to bring children closer to teaching.
According to the landscaping value of the intervention, the building is sensitive to its environment, immersed in a green space with a grove that changes with the seasons. Parts of the School can be moved to create courtyards which allow the incorporation of trees into the building itself. All this shows a profound respect for the environment, a value the children can learn as new members of the society.
In an urban setting the building has two fronts exposed to the street. The first on Paseo Echegaray y Caballero, has a more urban feel; the one next to the banks, related to the park and the river, feels more organic. By these means, the building shows a flat profile on its urban front, and presents an irregular profile where it joins the park and gets close to the river.
The scale of the housing blocks of Paseo Echegaray y Caballero and the depression state against the elevation of the avenue, the nearby plaza Europa or the viewpoint balcony of Forest Engineering, turn the outside of the building into the most eye catching exterior of the building and one of the important fronts of it. The vegetable cover is taken as an upper skin, benefiting not only of its aesthetic qualities but also of the thermal and acoustical improvements it generates. It therefore glimpses the continuity between the gardened roof and the annexed park as generating elements of visual and environmental quality to the building block of a neighborhood that has given its face to the regenerated banks of the river Ebro.
The facades that generate volume, clearly respond to its content and interior’s possibility, closing the service block and the bedroom area and completely opening up the area of the classrooms facing the park.
The facade of the classrooms, which faces the green zone, presents an abstract composition, ordered by vertical stripes and perforated by torn and narrow hollows (such as tree trunks), suggesting a relationship “green-trunk background ” in tune with their environment . From the inside these vertical hollows will recreate a sense of light and space very similar to that of a natural forest. Facade materials can sieve the light that comes filtered through the polycarbonate sheets in green allowing maximum internal light levels and avoiding dazzling lights.
The building lets children take centre stage. The classrooms vary in proportion to the different stages, allowing the setting of different appropriations of space depending on the various courses. All measurements are based on this, having fixed lower windows, which belong to the “children’s world”, and a series of high practicable windows, more related to the adult world.
The nursery in the park has been designed from a paternalistic approach in which the protection against foreign hostility is transposed into light tenderness in the inside, designed for the recreational ward patio.
Last but not least, throughout the development of this project there was a desire to play with a romantic memory from the architects’ childhood. The story of Pinocchio and his passage inside the whale have been the leitmotif of the volumetric composition.
Santiago Carroquino, Ignacio Grávalos, Patrizia Di Monte
Ayuntamiento de Zaragoza
1.207,13 m² (remaining land area 1.435,53 m²)