The Committee on Architecture for Education (CAE) is a Knowledge Community of the American Institute of Architects (AIA). We are a large and active group of over 10,000 architects and allied professionals concerned with the quality and design of all types of educational, cultural, and recreational facilities that promote lifelong learning in safe, welcoming and equitable environments. The CAE’s mission is to foster innovative and collaborative design of educational facilities and to heighten public awareness on the importance of learning environments.
Five years ago, Bau, Centre Universitari de Disseny (Design College of Barcelona) opened its new campus, and now occupies an entire city block in the newly revitalized neighborhood of Poble Nou, District 22@, which was Barcelona’s main industrial zone at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th centuries. This area currently features both old buildings, some still operating with their original purpose, others, like BAU, renovated and repurposed, standing side by side with highly technical modern buildings that are designated for a wide range of uses: dwellings – both ordinary and alternative, offices, university and industrial spaces, warehouses, restaurants, hotels, and shops. BAU opted for this area because the mix of activities and contrasts of architecture go hand in hand with the spirit of the school and its commitment to the environment and sustainability. The architects, Christian Giribets and Josep Boncompte, decided not to destroy the 19th century warehouse located in the interior center of the block in order to keep as much of the original elements as possible as a tribute to the neighborhood’s industrial past. The main structure was renovated maintaining its wooden beams, skylights, and the castiron pillars that modulate the space. All the additional interiors were removed and the classrooms were located along the sides. An ample center area has been left as an open crossroads space that is adaptable to the various activities needed for this type of school; the inherent flexibility of the original industrial warehouse has been maintained.
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