Francisco Pardo and Julio Amezcua were finalists in the Global Awards 2015 for their school design concept Kokokali. The two Mexico-based architects recently attended the International LafargeHolcim Forum in Detroit, where the Foundation took the opportunity to recognize their project with a Global Finalist certificate. The project was praised by the Global Awards jury for creatively re-thinking “the school” as a building type, and for reassessing buildings for education and investigating their architectural potential from an entirely new perspective.
Carolyn Aguilar, Dean of Architecture at the Universidad Iberoamericana (IBERO) in Mexico City and frequent member of the Awards competition juries congratulated the architects. She noted the ongoing success of projects from Mexico in the Awards competition – and looked forward to the next cycle of the competition; the 5th International LafargeHolcim Awards for Sustainable Construction will open for entries on July 4, 2016.
Francisco Pardo, Julio Amezcua and Carolyn Aguilar were part of a gathering of more than 300 leading thinkers from architecture, civil engineering, urban planning, social science, business, and industry from 40 countries who gathered at the 5th LafargeHolcim Forum on “Infrastructure Space” held in Detroit, USA. The three-day symposium examined how to deliver long-term infrastructure that is aligned with sustaining the human habitat.See more
Kokokali looks radically different to every other school in Mexico. And the difference goes beyond appearance: The architects of AT103 developed a holistic education concept which also influences the design of the school.
AT103, along with a multidisciplinary team, not only designed the building and the furniture but also developed an education concept and an expanded curriculum for 75 the school. This includes the national school curriculum – after all, the children from San Andrés Payuca should ultimately receive a certificate that is recognized everywhere – and it also includes many other subjects, such as farming.
Julio Amezcua from AT103 provides the project’s context: “The face of schools hasn’t changed since time eternal: The teacher stands at the front of a rectangular classroom, facing rows of the more clever students, and far at the back the lesser ones. We wanted to break down this hierarchy, so there are no corners in our classrooms, no edges, no front and back.”
As one of the three main Holcim Awards winners for Latin America in 2014, “Children's House” automatically qualified as a finalist in the Global Holcim Awards 2015. All 15 finalist project teams were asked to submit an updated and more comprehensive entry that was evaluated by a global jury in March 2015.
The results of the global phase of the 4th Holcim Awards competition were announced on April 20, 2015.
The winners of the global phase of the 4th International Holcim Awards competition will be revealed on April 20, 2015. The results will be announced via the Holcim Awards website www.holcimawards.org.
The USD 2 million Holcim Awards is the most significant international competition for sustainable design. The jury composed of renowned specialists from around the world and headed by Mohsen Mostafavi, Dean of the Graduate School of Design at Harvard University (USA) will evaluate 15 projects out of more than 6,000 submissions. The finalists are the winners of the Holcim Awards Gold, Silver, and Bronze Awards 2014 in each of the five competition regions of the world.
The finalist projects competing for one of the three Global Holcim Awards prizes are located in Austria, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ethiopia, France, Italy, Lebanon, Mexico, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Turkey, and the USA and were entered by authors from these countries as well as from Germany, the Netherlands, and Spain. They reflect a broad variety of the current interpretation of sustainable construction combined with architectural excellence and enhanced quality of life beyond technical intervention.
The submissions will be evaluated by the Global Holcim Awards 2015 jury including Marc Angélil, Senior Dean of Architecture and Urban Design at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH Zurich, Switzerland), Alejandro Aravena, Principal of Elemental (Chile), Maria Atkinson, Founding Director of the Australian Green Building Council (Australia), Meisa Batayneh Maani, Principal of maisam architects and engineers (Jordan), Yolanda Kakabadse, President of WWF International (Ecuador), Mohsen Mostafavi, Dean of the Graduate School of Design at Harvard University (USA), Matthias Schuler, Principal of Transsolar(Germany), and Rolf Soiron, Chairman of the Board of the Holcim Foundation (Switzerland).
The winners of the global prizes will share prize money of USD 350,000. Previous winners of the tri-annual Global Holcim Awards include Bureau EAST (Los Angeles, USA), Centola + Associati (Salerno, Italy), Coelacanth and Associates (Tokyo, Japan), Ingenhoven und Partner Architekten (Dusseldorf, Germany), Kéré Architecture (Berlin, Germany), L’OEUF (Montreal, Canada), Public Architecture (San Francisco, USA), Proyectos Arqui5 (Caracas, Venezuela), realities:united (Berlin, Germany), Tsinghua University (Beijing, China), and Urban-Think Tank (São Paulo, Brazil).
About the Holcim Foundation and Holcim
The Swiss-based Holcim Foundation promotes and illustrates the strength of diverse strategies of achieving greater sustainability of the built environment. As part of its approach, the Foundation publishes booklets on outstanding examples of applied sustainable construction. The initiatives of the Holcim Foundation include the USD 2 million Holcim Awards – the most significant international competition for sustainable design.
Since it was established in 2003, the Foundation has been supported by Holcim in more than 70 countries worldwide and is independent of commercial interests. Holcim is one of the world’s leading suppliers of cement and aggregates (crushed stone, gravel and sand) as well as further activities such as ready-mix concrete and asphalt, including services.See more
Julio Amezcua of AT103 in Mexico sees the most outstanding aspect of the “Kokokali” project is its engagement with the people and its specific context with the community – building connections at the emotional level. “Children’s House: Pedagogically-aligned school” in San Andrés Payuca, Mexico demonstrates deep sensibility for social, technical and environmental concerns – all combined and transformed into a stunning building for children, a building embedded in the landscape and appropriately playful in its formal expression.
A school building in San Andrés Payuca in Mexico founded on an alternative educational model that integrates agriculture, farming and building construction into the curriculum received the bronze award. The self-built school design led by architects Julio Amezuca and Francisco Pardo of AT103 in Mexico proposes the use of cement-reinforced compacted earth blocks with tapered corners that permit assembly in a series of curves based on organic principles.Read more » más información (Spanish) »
Whereas the beauty and precision of the submitted drawings initially captured the attention of the jury, a closer look at the project revealed a deep sensibility for social, technical and environmental concerns – all combined and transformed into a stunning building for children, a building embedded in the landscape and appropriately playful in its formal expression. The jury was furthermore impressed by the scheme’s minimal deployment of architectural elements, such as the use of one continuous wall encasing the entire school, to achieve maximum effects – an “economy of means” contributing of an elegant and discrete structure dedicated to the next generation, while changing the paradigm of education in rural Mexico.
Children’s House is a project that is founded on an alternative educational model, offering activities that find solutions to the real problems of the population in the San Andrés Payuca rural community, north-east of Puebla, Mexico. Correspondingly, the school’s curriculum includes instruction in agriculture, farming and building construction, in addition to normal course work. The design for the school – arranged by Fundación la Concepción and self-built by the community – proposes the use of cement-reinforced compacted blocks using readily accessible local earth.
The design of the block with tapered corners permits assembly in a variation of curves based on organic principles. The school will double as a cultural center for the community, offering access to a library, the Internet and the school’s sports fields.
The contemporary model of education is teaching people to relinquish their creative capacities at an early age. The project aspires to evolve from what is essentially an industrial model of education to a model that is based more on organic principles. When a child starts school, they work with many colors and materials; by their last year of school, they are left with only a notebook and a pen. When did the line break? That line, the simplest form of expression is the line in time which represents an individual’s life and each step ahead of them. This school is a line that shall be a life story for each child. Children shall follow this line, which will transcend dimensions and become a wall; after it has traveled a certain way, it will in a sense become space to travel through life that will never restrain you, but will protect you and show you the way.
Progress: Kokokali is a compound word derived from the Nahuatl kokone (children) and kali (house). The project proposes the use of a block especially-designed for this school. This block is a systematic module that is very easy to elaborate. The cinder blocks are fabricated using a mix of concrete, sand and readily-accessible local earth. The design of the block consists of making a minimum variation in curves with different angles for its use on different locations and spatial conditions.
People: The school aims to change the paradigm of education in Mexico’s rural communities, and seeks the participation of all parties involved – from the federal government, to the people in the community. It focuses on the profile of the population, offering activities that find solutions to the real problems of the area. In this school that will be self-built by the community, students will learn about agriculture, farming and building techniques – in addition to the official curriculum.
Planet: The hydrologic design and planning of this school uses passive and highly-efficient mechanisms to connect different uses of water in the local context, maximizing its use and honoring the environment.
Prosperity: The construction of Kokokali will be financed through donations, in addition to support from the government. The school will be economically sustainable. A proportion of the students’ activities in agriculture, livestock management, hydroponics and construction will generate profits ensuring financial viability.
Place: By using the curved block, Kokokali becomes a dynamic non-hierarchical space, which allows flexibility in the program. It responds to the need for a space of equality and trust, this virtue is magnified by classrooms that connect either to indoor gardens or the main square.Download project entry poster - English (PDF, 3.16 MB) »Descargar cartel de proyecto - Español (PDF, 3.16 MB) »See more
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A school building in San Andrés Payuca in Mexico founded on an alternative educational model that integrates agriculture, …
Julio Amezcua of AT103 in Mexico sees the most outstanding aspect of the “Kokokali” project is its engagement with the people …