What makes a great school? This question provoked us to think about the history of education in the West, beginning with the development of the Lyceum in Ancient Greece, formally founded by Aristotle in the 4th century B.C. The Lyceum integrated spaces of learning with spaces of physical exercise, believing that a well-rounded citizen needed to develop both a strong mind and an agile body. Moreover, Aristotle’s most profound educational lessons took place while walking through the grounds of the School with his students. This is fundamental, as it indicates that some of the most meaningful learning experiences took place informally within Nature.
In an ever-increasing digital age that often de-sensitizes us from our surroundings, we believe that it is vital for students to come in direct contact with the physical world. Nature can serve as both a place of contemplation and a direct source for learning. Thus the project for the extension to the Colegio Interamericano develops a collection of outdoor rooms and gardens that can serve as a direct extension of the interior classroom experience.
The design is guided by several factors including the desire to create clearly defined and memorable spaces capable of reinforcing the pedagogical objectives of the School; integrate the natural and manmade structures of the site; and choreograph the utilitarian demands so as to not interfere with the principal academic spaces of the campus.
The project includes 24 new classrooms, a Media Lab, Science Labs, cafeteria, covered loggias and gardens, and a large central space for track and field and other sports activities.
Completed September 2015