Recent winner of the WAN Award 2013 in the category Education CVDB Arquitectos for their Braancamp Freire School in Lisbon. You don’t associate modern concrete architecture with more colors than grey, or white maybe. The original building dated from 1986, reasonably late for a such a modernistic building, but already it was chosen for rehabilitation. CVDB Arquitectos was asked to take up the task of bringing the building up to date. The original structure comprised of several separate pavilions. CVDB Arquitectos linked these together by adding new connecting structures, and by adding colors.
Joana Barelas of CVDB Arquitectos explains: “The color is used mostly in certain ares of the school, like stairs, niches, informal and social spaces. We had more possibilities for playing with color in these areas. Others spaces of the school, like classrooms or working areas, require specific characteristics related to color and light (among others) according to their function. These spaces should be more neutral comparing to the ones mentioned before.”
“The school spaces are mainly defined by the natural color of the exposed in-situ concrete, the pre-fabricated concrete panels, the acoustic blocks and the pavement in dark grey and white terrazzo. Color accentuates and qualifies special moments and spaces such as the circulation, the informal study areas and the auditorium. The chromatic dynamism of these moments is accentuated in strong and saturated colors to identify the character and purpose of these spaces. Color in the classrooms is more neutral and achromatic to enable a quieter space for more focused studies, using only a stronger yellow color in the acoustic ceiling for provide a sense of comfort and warmth. Colored light is reflected in the concrete exterior surfaces nearby the windows. The several spaces are dyed in a multiplicity of tones continuously changing throughout the day. This allows for a great diversity in how these spaces are experienced and perceived both in an overwhelming and ephemeral way with different daylight. Color defines and qualifies aesthetically and architecturally the several spaces according to ergonomic principles that allow for a sense of comfort and orientation within the school.”