Students build their own school in Mexico

In an indigenous town with almost 18% of the population is illiterate. An architecture studio dictated a construction workshop that drove the project.

Tepetzintán is a town of about 1000 inhabitants in the state of Puebla, about 130 km south of Mexico City. Life in this place more than 500 meters high is difficult: Only 33% of the population is employed, almost 27% of women are illiterate (the general average is 17.94%) and around 18% He does not speak Spanish. 

Taller de Arquitectura organized a bamboo construction workshop in 2015  that was an essential contribution to the quality of life of the residents of Tepetzintán. 

“For our team, architecture is not an object, it is rather a participatory social process, alive and open, that allows villagers to express their ideas, needs, and aspirations, always placing them at the center of projects and decision making. “, say the directors of the study,  Mariana Ordóñez Grajales and Jesica Amescua Carrera

His study collaborated with the students of the zone in the construction of an educational space with available resources in the place. Motivated by what they had learned and the lack of classrooms in their community, the youth of Tepetzintán decided to start the project in 2016.

According to Grajales and Amescua Carrera, “our work combines architecture and engineering for the technological innovation of construction systems with regional materials and the conservation of vernacular typologies , which results from the exchange of knowledge among residents, specialists and technicians.” Hence, students have developed the concept of “rural productive school”that in addition to providing appropriate spaces for education, reconsiders learning and teaching methods.

Materials.  Concrete, bricks and bamboo were used.

Materials. Concrete, bricks and bamboo were used.

The architectural program was designed so that students can learn and exchange the knowledge necessary for this community away from large cities, where emigration and separation of families is the only possible way out in the future. 

Goals.  The school was built to be the place for the exchange of knowledge.

Goals. The school was built to be the place for the exchange of knowledge.

As a result of this experience, the establishment of three classrooms, a “traditional” garden, another with medicinal plants and a kitchen-laboratory for the production of ointments, creams and jellies was proposed. In addition, a workshop promotes training on the use of bamboo and other local materials for the construction of structures and furniture.

The architects say: “We firmly believe in our profession as a tool that can help improve the quality of life of communities through processes that detonate autonomy, empowerment and self-sufficiency “; And this is what this project aims at, which has already finished its first stage. 

Input.  The study Comunal: Taller de Arquitectura considers that this discipline should help the empowerment of communities.

Input. The study Comunal: Taller de Arquitectura considers that this discipline should help the empowerment of communities.

In 2017 the project was presented to the parents of the community. An ad hoc communal committee was formed, and the general assembly of the town contributed its part with the donation of the land. Private companies and international NGOs were also involved .

Program.  The school includes classrooms, a laboratory and a garden of medicinal plants.

Program. The school includes classrooms, a laboratory and a garden of medicinal plants.

Construction began that same year and ended with the creation of a classroom and a building for services. The second stage, a classroom and the kitchen-laboratory is at this moment in execution.

Collaboration.  The project was joined by private companies and international NGOs.

Collaboration. The project was joined by private companies and international NGOs.

Source: clarin

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