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Gusmão Otero Arquitetos Associados project for the new Camino School headquarters

The project illustrates a dialogue about a city that is less based on cars and more on pedestrians, allocating the initial structure calculated for vehicle traffic to the freedom of childhood


São Paulo, May 2022 - GOAA - Gusmão Otero Arquitetos Associados is responsible for the reform that adapted the building of an old car dealership, located in Bairro da Lapa, in São Paulo, to become the new headquarters of Camino School. The plan included the choice of the building, the rooms' ambiance, and furniture design.

As an educational space with an innovative pedagogical proposal, based on teaching through projects, it was essential that the program included: flexible classrooms, art rooms, maker space, cafeteria, a large place for teacher training, and free areas for group didactic activities outside the classroom. In this way, the space was designed to provide a sense of belonging to the students, in addition to stimulating interaction between them.

The choice of the property, with an area of 3,000 m², added qualities to the work. According to Ricardo Gusmão, one of the architects of the office, "the solid structure of the building in reinforced concrete allowed freedom both in the occupation of the open plan and in the opening of new spans for natural lighting and ventilation". "In addition, transforming a car dealership into a school is very symbolic, it marks a new paradigm of the city we want to build," adds Guido Otero, who makes up the duo of architects leading GOAA - Gusmão Otero Arquitetos Associados.

A central plaza, created from a series of large slab demolitions, integrates the different levels of the building, while providing natural light and ventilation to the darker parts of the building. The existing car elevator has been completely renovated, giving way to a panoramic elevator that allows a cinematic view of the transversal route along all levels of the school. These pieces were fundamental to bring life and dynamism into the new space.

The proposal brings a new side facade, which allows the visual connection between the internal and external environments. Facing east, this facade has a system of mobile perforated sheeting that filters direct morning sunlight when desired, improving the climatic performance of the classrooms positioned there.

The cafeteria and co-creation spaces are connected to the basement garden. The integration to the first floor gained a large bleacher for presentations and cultural activities. Wooden stairs and walkways give access to the classrooms on the upper floor. On the roof of the building there is a court for sports and recreation programs.

Finally, the school receives a white paint job to lighten the internal environments and uses some colored coverings, which didactically map important components that support the main activity (bathrooms, kitchen, and administrative area). The classrooms were subdivided with drywall partitions, which allow a light construction without demanding too much from the existing structure, besides a certain flexibility to rearrange these spaces. The project, already very collaborative in terms of low energy consumption, both for lighting and for air conditioning, has solar and rainwater harvesting systems.


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