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secondary school, chuquibambilla


Semillas + Paulo Vale Afonso




Pangoa, Satipo, Junín, Peru.

Shoes on Display

The bilingual secondary school located in the native Nomatsiguenga community of Chuquibambilla aims to provide adequate study conditions for the local youth and provide a place for meeting and community development. The school consists of three modules arranged around a central courtyard, the epicentre of the project. In addition to classrooms, the program includes an administrative area and teacher’s room, a multipurpose room, a computer room, and large open and covered spaces suitable for educational and leisure activities. The program also incorporates a student residence, which walls off the patio. It has a unique appearance that is more playful and similar to housing. The construction combines vernacular and modern materials and introduces new construction systems with local resources. Including local workers facilitated the exchange of knowledge through hands-on experience and enhanced the sense of ownership the residents felt for the building.

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Wooden Toy Clock

The Chuquibambilla Secondary School by Semillas + Paulo Vale Afonso is an example of New Wood Open Architecture because it incorporates active participation using local materials and techniques to create a flexible structure responsive to its community’s changing needs. Semillas + Paulo Vale Afonso used the design and construction process of the school as an opportunity to engage the native Nomatsiguenga community ofChuquibambilla. The project invited and encouraged the surrounding community to participate in the construction process, using local materials like timber rafters, clay blocks and wood lattice. They were involved at essentially every major construction milestone, from pouring the footings and floor slabs to the final weaving and installation of the wood lattice screens. This high level of participation throughout the construction process allows the community to form a stronger sense of ownership and autonomy to adapt the building as the community needs change. The resulting space also demonstrates important aspects of New Wood Open Architecture. The asymmetrical timber roof trusses allow for a completely open floor plan below. This elegant solution is resilient because the interior space below is adaptable and easily changed to suit the varied program. The space could be left open and function as a community hall or gathering space or partitioned to create smaller, more private spaces for classrooms or offices. The Chuquibambilla Secondary School by Semillas + Paulo Vale Afonso exemplifies New Wood Open Architecture because it unapologetically involves the surrounding community in the construction process. This process results in a strong sense of ownership and agency concerning its ongoing maintenance and use. Finally, its open floor plan is adaptable to meet a wide array of community needs and remains resilient as these needs inevitably change.


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