Mar Bella School: Renovation and Extension

SUMO Arquitectes

Architects: SUMO Arquitectes
Location: Barcelona, Spain
Area: 5,400.00 m2
Year: 2017
Photography: Aitor Estévez

La Mar Bella is a renovation and extension of an existing primary school to increase its capacity twofold. Three interconnected volumes define a 5,400 sqm total surface complex. The existing building, constructed in the 1950s, was fully refurbished and two new volumes have been attached.

Two long volumes in an L shape outline the school’s playground. They contain the classrooms, cantina, kitchen, and administration area. A third volume is free-standing facing the square and is connected to the complex by a bridge over the public space. It houses the gym, dressing rooms and library. These spaces can be shared by neighborhood residents when the school is closed.

The different spaces are flexible and polyvalent to promote new pedagogical projects. Wide circulation spaces become classrooms extensions that make it possible split students into smaller groups. New roof areas become an extension of open-air leisure spaces, which are generally scarce in urban sites.

The materials used materials speak for themselves: simple solutions, durable and resistant construction, with very low maintenance. Concrete, wood, and textile sun protections are the dominant materials, which offer a consistent appearance to the complex as a whole.

The project was designed in keeping with nZEB parameters. It is an energy efficient school, with a low thermal inertia envelope, special attention to sun protection, and high performance in terms of natural ventilation. It was built with low environmental impact materials. The building is also equipped with a 50 kwpic solar power system.