Braancamp Freire Secondary School, Lisbon, Portugal
CVDB arquitectos

The Braamcamp Freire Secondary School is located at the edge of the historical centre of Pontinha, Lisbon, Portugal. The site is approximately 17,380 sq m and borders an accentuated topography.

The School was originally built in 1986, with 5 standardised prefabricated pavilions; a central one with a single storey and four two-storey pavilions. These pavilions were organised along an east-west axis, connected by covered walkways. The rehabilitation project of the building was part of the Portuguese 'Modernisation of Secondary Schools Programme', which has been implemented by the Parque Escolar E.P.E., since 2007. The project proposes to restructure the dispersed pavilion typology into one single building, to connect all the pavilions through interior circulation spaces.

The new buildings are built to work as a link in between the existing pavilions. The programme is structured as a learning street and a continuous path throughout the various building levels and floors. These pathways consist in a succession of several interior spaces, offering different informal learning opportunities. The pathways are punctuated with social areas which actively contribute to interactions between students, the various educational programmes and the school community.

The school is structured around a central open space, a 'learning square' that expands the 'learning street' as an outside social central space of the school. The square's relationship with the playground areas provides a strong relationship with the existing natural landscape and topography.

The Square is open as an amphitheater connecting it to the playgrounds in the northern part of the school grounds. This amphitheater is below the new classrooms building supported by a series of punctured concrete walls allowing students either to walk through them or to use them as places to sit, talking and playing.

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