An Organic Structure
Architecture + Design|December 2020
Project: Waldorf School Casa de las Estrellas, Playa Garza, Nosara, Costa Rica.Architects: Salagnac Arquitectos, Costa Rica

The Waldorf school pedagogy seeks to provide education that enables children to become free human beings, and to help children embody their ‘developing spiritual identity’, carried from the preceding spiritual existence, as beings of body, soul and spirit in this life. Taking into account this educational conception, the main challenge as architects of this project was to capture through architecture the concept of Waldorf education in a tangible way.

The architects started to investigate educational and architectural concepts according to the Waldorf education conception and found that schools often have a striking architecture, to achieve a more fluid feeling, and less closed in space. The walls are often curved and painted in subtle colours, often with a lazure technique, and including texture surfaces and natural materials.

As a starting point, the context where the new school would be located was also just as important. The land for this school is located on the seashore with a magnificent white sand beach in front, and surrounded by primary tropical forests with large aged trees.

With this context, which is so rich in its natural diversity, the architects took the idea that the context and the built work should be a complement to each other; they wanted to adapt the architecture to the site, and cause the least possible impact to the environment to maintain harmony in the place and that nature is confined with the architectural project.

The general architectural ensemble of the project was composed of the spaces that the project should comprise, according to the guidelines of its founders and pedagogical team. An elongated development was opted that would focus its main view parallel to the sea to take advantage of the sea breeze, the morning light and the adaptation to the topography.

The designers lean towards a location of separate modules to have that feeling of fluidity towards the outside from the built spaces, also based on the conceptions of Waldorf education it was decided to separate the different modules to be able to emphasize the different academic spaces according to the needs of the different cycles or educational groups.

A centralized main building was developed where the primary and administration classrooms are mainly located. To one side of the main building is the parking area and main access as well as the main performing arts hall. And towards the other end of the main building are preschool classrooms.

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