Valldemur Preschool and Primary School Center in Barberà de la Conca

Barberà de la Conca is a village in the Conca de Barberà -interior region of Catalonia between Lleida and Tarragona-, with a school that has been insufficient for their needs. For this reason, several prefabricated modules are placed where the soccer field was and used as an extension of the school. They are in a differentiated and separate area from the original school.


The Valldemur School is a member of the ZER Conca de Barberà. A ZER (rural school zone) is the union of schools that have a common educational project. The schools share the same curriculum, Internal Regulations and annual program. They also share the subject teachers (physical education, foreign languages, music and special education), who are called itinerant because they “itinerant” between the different schools of the ZER.


It is proposed to remove the prefabricated modules and instead build a preschool and primary school center, uniting the two existing schools into one. At the same time, it offers accesses as well as outdoor and indoor spaces that comply with current regulations. In this way, the site and access are worked on three levels: upper street level, building level and level of the school grounds. The main entrance to the school is in the same corner as the lobby and administrative area.


A volumetric organization is proposed which, at a glance, helps the user to read the building and differentiate the use of each of its elements, just by observing the implantation. In this way there are two modules of classrooms that are united by a third module which contains common spaces and works as a swivel that generates activities and separates environments. The building is surrounded by a sidewalk that allows a continuous connection between the outdoor areas. In the east of the site, an area is reserved for a future extension of a classroom and another service area in the primary classroom module.


A circulatory axis from the east end to the west of the site articulates all educational and non-educational pieces. A door in the middle of this axis enables the library-classroom, computer-classroom and plastic toilet packages to be separated. In addition, additional access from the street provides independent use for courses or extracurricular activities at different times on the school schedule. The classroom modules face the school grounds through a series of porches that provide protection from the sun. The porches of the common spaces frame the primary school ground and open up to the biggest space: the multipurpose space.


The preschool and primary school grounds are separated by the building's service area, but can be connected to each other if it is necessary. This school grounds provides a natural environment and allow the user to enjoy the views offered by the site. They also allow users to be surrounded by nature, creating comfort and a connection with the landscape.


The children’s classrooms have their own toilet module, separated from the classroom by a door that enables the visual relationship between the classroom and bathroom. There is another door that allows direct use of the toilets from the outside. The exit from the classrooms to the school grounds is through porches, which are an extension of the classroom, getting an outside classroom. That opens up the possibility of the students being protected outside the building and being able to carry out activities when the weather is favorable.


The structure of the building consists mainly by reinforced concrete porticos that determine the rhythm and delimit each space. Metallic structural elements are also occasionally used. The external materiality of the building differs according to its function: the two classroom modules combine lime mortar and wood, while the service module uses local stone and some colored elements. Inside the building, neutral colors are combined with light colors and warm tones to create a friendly and welcoming school that maintains its rural character.





Conceptual axonometry

location : Barberà de la Conca

promoter : Generalitat de Catalunya - Departament d'Ensenyament

architect : Guillem Carrera

structure : Estudi Cuyas 38 SL

energy and systems : Lerso Enginyers

collaborators : Eva Crespo, Edgar Argemí, Meritxell Anglès, Xavier Foraste 

project's year : 2007

surface : 954 m2

images: Beta collective

publications : Beta architecture

awards and recognitions : First prize of the competition for the new construction of the Valldemur Preschool and Primary School Center - ZER Conca de Barberà,  Barberà de la Conca, 2006