Henri Matisse High School

La Cañada, Paterna. 2010

The site is a 16.000 sq.m. stepped plot of green land next to the motorway bypassing Valencia with great views towards Sierra Calderona to the North, in a suburban community on the outskirts of Valencia. The U-shaped building is placed on the higher part of the site, and its 6.167 sq.m. are divided into the main building, the gymnasium and the caretaker house. The playground areas are placed at the lower part of the site. The main building sites perpendicular to the slope which allows for two floors on the southern side and three on the north, organized around a central gardened courtyard as a cloister open to the East. The access is to the West on the shorter side through a newly designed pedestrian street.

The parti concept is to root the building into the place by stressing the feeling of the surrounding nature whilst enhancing the encounter spaces. The high school layout consists of 18 classroom units all organized on the upper level by a double loaded corridor with intermediate spaces open to the views. The access level houses administration, staff, and meeting facilities opened to the courtyard with direct access to the playground area to the lower level through a detached staircase. Finally the lowest level is dedicated to laboratories and the library open to a sunken courtyard which illuminates the inner corridor. Natural materials, red brick and colored concrete, combined with a blue color palette applied to the seminar rooms’ volumes as a reminder of the Mediterranean whose influence is a part of the landscape.