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Cuenca, 2000


We won the national tender for this project, the construction of a secondary school, including workshops, a library and a gymnasium, all on a plot of 4500 m2 located in a small village in Castilla La Mancha. The town has fewer than 5000 citizens and a very extreme climate. The budget for this project was very tight.


The building was designed with Mediterranean architecture in mind, and the objective was to create a sustainable construction by using “intermediate spaces” so typical of Mediterranean architecture: patios, terraces, pergolas...


The use of these spaces makes this construction sustainable in an extreme climate like that of the Spanish plateau area. We also had to take into account the tight budget and the limited amount of space. The building was designed on two levels and despite the lack of land available the objectives were met and land was left over for the entrance porch and the rear playground.


Due to the low budget, an economical structural system was required, this being an arcade system with controlled lights. This structure, adjusted to a much studied reticule, articulates the whole building. The direct sunlight entering the gymnasium is somewhat diffused by the structure of laminate wood beams.


The project’s materiality works with the traditional architecture of the area, which is mainly white. A concrete apron (concrete blocks for economy’s sake) helps to absorb irregularities of the adjacent streets.


The general concept was to concentrate all of the construction on one side of the site, giving more importance to the entrance area – as this area is right on the street – and thus, leaving more space for the open air sports and leisure areas


The concept, therefore, was to create solid areas that contrast with the open spaces.


One element breaks the strict order of the project: “the eye of the caretaker”. A large overhang projects from the caretaker’s home, thus enabling him to observe and control everything around and nearby the building.


This overhang called “The eye that sees everything” creates a shadow beneath which time goes.


Design Credits:

Architecture and interior design by CLAVEL ARQUITECTOS

Partners in Charge: Manuel Clavel Rojo / Luis Clavel Sainz

In collaboration with: Ignacio Sánchez Pérez

Photography: David Frutos (BISimages)


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