Terra Madre - "Mother Earth" by Luca Peralta Studio. In a world where consumerism and electronics dominate childhood, an everwidening disconnection with the environment is steadily emerging. This alarming issue affecting our children mandates an increased emphasis on environmental and lifestyle education within the academic curriculum of the public school system. This education can be strongly influenced through the academic environment, namely through academic facilities that are specifically designed to encourage ecological and environmental sensibility. "Terra Madre" is the winning design competition entry for a kindergarten school in Bisceglie, South Italy that nurtures an atmosphere of ecological awareness. Here, environmental education is integrated into a child's everyday academic experiences though the design of the academic facility. The school's clear program organization and distribution cradles a central enclosed courtyard that functions as a safe outdoor classroom where children can explore nature directly, through hands-on interaction. The project, including the school and connected public spaces, is commissioned by the local municipality (Comune di Bisceglie) and sponsored by the department of Architecture and Landscape of the Italian Ministry of Culture (program “Qualità Italia”) and the Italian Ministry for Economic Development (program “Sensi Contemporanei”). The competition winner, Luca Peralta Studio will lead all project design phases and direction of the construction site for the expected completion in July 2011. ARCHITECTURE The architectural design of the school emphasizes a plan diagram that is strongly characterized by a striated organization, alternating indoor "served" and "servant" spaces defined by parallel walls. This striated system is intersected by a fluid one to define the completely enclosed, outdoor courtyard. The playground courtyard is wrapped with a glazed corridor which acts as the building's primary circulation, "knotting" and connecting all of its functional programs: entrance foyer in connection with the adjacent public piazza, six classrooms (for 30 students each), cafeteria and adjoined kitchen, offices and faculty rooms, service and technical spaces, etc. More specifically, the central, common, outdoor classroom functions to create a microclimate that harbors the re-establishment of the typical natural landscape of the region using native plants and trees to educate children of their regional environment. The space reinforces the school's emphasis on the environment by being connected both visibly and directly to every primary room within the school. Six parallel interior classrooms feature glazed northern and southern partitions that visually extend to outdoor spaces also designed for learning activities. The extensive use of glass facades is designed to create a strong relationship between indoor and outdoor spaces and also provides balanced natural lighting, reducing dependency on energy consumptive artificial lighting. More specifically, the northern partition of each classroom intersects the school's primary circulation corridor whose glazed walls ensure a visual connection to the central outdoor space. Similarly, each classroom's southern glazed partition connects to its own private outdoor educational space where deciduous trees, canopies, pergolas and simple window blinds naturally protect it from excessive summer radiation. The result is a direct connection, afforded by the glazed partition, that blurs the definition between exterior and interior space creating a unique atmosphere that emphasizes the importance of outdoor activities as a didactic strategy. LANDSCAPE The project strives to evoke a deep, metaphorical and aesthetic relationship with Mother Earth. This relationship is achieved by integrating architecture and landscape design both visually and functionally. We propose an extensive green roof with diverse species of native plants (Sedum) and classrooms that operate through a joined interior and exterior relationship that encourages outdoor discoveries through multi-sensorial experiences. The use of native plants and trees such as, Holm Oak (Quercus ilex), Cork Oak (Quercus suber), Turkey Oak (Quercus cerris), ect., educate children of their regional natural environment. Perimeter outdoor spaces incorporate vegetable gardens and small orchards where children can learn how traditional local foods are cultivated. Each private outdoor classroom encourages the typically 'interior-focused' curriculum of the traditional education system to expand into an immersive exterior setting. These outdoor spaces directly integrate ecological and environmental education into everyday academic experiences using the innovative design of gardens and by offering dynamic learning opportunities that invoke all five senses: • Sight: colors of flowers, fruits and butterflies; textures of plants, soil and rock; movement of wind, insects and birds. • Sound: rhythms of rain and wind; voices of birds, frogs and insects; rustling of dry leaves. • Touch: textures of materials, plants and soil; sensations of cold, warm, dry and wet. • Taste: sampling fruits, vegetables and herbs picked directly from the gardens. • Smell: scents of Mediterranean herbs, rich soil, ripened fruit and blooming flowers. Healthy eating habits require a child to have an understanding of the food that is being regularly consumed, specifically an understanding of how and during what season it was produced. The east and west perimeter gardens serve as demonstration project gardens where students can directly take part in traditional local food cultivation by planting a tomato vine or harvesting a crop of olives. These spaces incorporate both vegetable gardens and small orchards that are populated with a diversity of traditional culinary plantings of the region including: apple trees (Malus communis), fig-trees (Ficus carica), carob trees (Ceratonia siliqua), artichokes (Cynara scolymus), tomatoes (Solanum lycopersicum), wheat (Triticum aestivum), Mediterranean herbs etc. SUSTAINABILITY The project's connection to Mother Earth is reinforced through environmentally sensitive design which includes the following strategies: • Passive energy systems are carefully designed in order to reduce the need and dependency for active ones. • A geothermic system is used for free thermal contribution from the ground, reducing the need for electric thermal energy. • Renewable energy production for electricity (photovoltaic panels) and sanitary hot water (solar panels). • Rainwater collection and storage for sanitary uses and garden irrigation. • Use of local, recycled and recyclable building material.
Terra Madre - "Mother Earth" by Luca Peralta Studio. In a world where consumerism and electronics dominate childhood, an everwidening disconnection with the environment is steadily emerging. This alarming issue affecting our children mandates an increased emphasis on environmental and lifestyle education within the academic curriculum of the public school system. This education can be strongly influenced through the academic environment, namely through academic facilities that are specifically...
- Year 2017
- Work started in 2015
- Work finished in 2017
- Client Comune di Bisceglie
- Contractor Impresa Manelli
- Status Competition works
- Type Parks, Public Gardens / Public Squares / Kindergartens