COR & asociados: nursery school in the palm trees

In a town that has expanded in an uncontrolled fashion, the building of a nursery school became an instrument for rebalancing an irregular urban fabric.

The exponential growth that has taken place at Los Alcázares – a town in Murcia in southern Spain - has resulted in a need to increase state education services with particular attention being given to children of pre-school age. These buildings have enabled the development of a “contemporary family model” in such a way that domestic life and work can be combined more easily.
Uncontrolled expansion has also given rise to irregular urban organisation that in this area produced a series of disconnected plots: surrounded by three streets, they form a triangular shape and are punctuated by groups of palm trees. One of these plots houses the new nursery school designed by COR & asociados, Miguel Rodenas + Jesús Olivares; and the extension of the site has made it possible to not only meet educational needs but also provide a play area, thereby transforming the structure into a public space surrounded by trees.
Entrance to the new nursery school at Los Alcázares designed by COR & asociados, Miguel Rodenas + Jesús Olivares
This situation has given rise to a space with a certain synergy that as well as providing the residents of the area with a new community facility surrounded by greenery, also leaves most of the site free, creating visual continuity with the adjacent plots. The building covers an area of 800 sqm, the brief asked for six classrooms, a creche, a multi-functional hall, a dormitory, a canteen and service areas.
Elevation facing internal courtyard
The school building is divided into two wings, united at the centre by a main entrance that connects the internal spaces with the outdoor patio. In this way, the building is more enclosed on the street site and more open and permeable on the courtyard side, acting as visual protection for children playing outside.
Children wash their hands in the communal sink clad in mosaic tiles
The larger wing of the nursery faces the road and houses most of the facilities (classrooms, offices, changing rooms), while the smaller one houses the canteen, kitchen and services. The wings face onto the external patio in such a way that the noise of the city is blocked out by the building and above all in such a way as to develop activities within the nursery outdoors. A cantilevered metal structure painted in colours of the rainbow enables the classroom windows to be protected from the sun.
The room for afternoon nap
The architects worked hard on the colour scheme, combining the white of the walls with bright colours for the floors, the tiling around the communal sink and animal murals. The windows that look out onto the road, arranged at different heights, have large projecting frames: white on the outside and in continuity with the perimeter walls, inside they are coloured a vivid red.
Street entrance

The nursery set in the palm trees
Architectural design:
COR & asociados, Miguel Rodenas + Jesús Olivares
Design team: Oscar Carpio Gonzalez
Structure, services, landscape design: COR & Asociados
Site supervision: Jose Verdú Montesinos
Client: Council of Los Alcázares, Murcia Spain
Built area: 811 sqm (gross)
Cost: 755,000 €
Design phase: March 2010 – May 2010
Construction phase: June 2010 – May 2011


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