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Honorable Mention award in national competition promoted by the Housing Development Company of the Federal District (CODHAB-DF), Brasília, Brazil.


Authors: Ana Luisa Rolim, Isabella Trindade, Robson Canuto e Rodrigo Malvim.

Collaborators: Eduarda Absalão e Rafaela Paes. Interns: Mateus Gibson e Natália Barretto.

The competition called for the design of an elementary public school building in Brasília, the capital of Brazil. Located in the outskirts of the city, adjacent to a new social housing development, the proposal was selected amongst almost 200 entries. It departed from the concept of the Aristotelian peripatetic teaching method, where students would learn through walking with the master outdoors or in the peripatoi.


Thus, the building site was approached like a park, and the building itself like a playful, continuous walkable setting, aiming towards conforming a spatial experience where interiors and exterior would blend in harmonically, generating an active landscape that enhanced social interaction. On the top floor, half of the building contained a peripatoi, a space dedicated to collective teaching and learning, also functioning as the required expandable space for classrooms.


The building code and zoning requirements are very strict in Brasília, aiming to assure a modernist physiognomy to the architecture. The competition briefing asked for a densely occupied building, which led the proposal towards a hybrid of the modernist slab with the traditional patio typologies.


This setting allowed for greater passive ventilation and sunlight capabilities and, more importantly, a spatial configuration that promoted visual and physical integration. The central courtyard becomes the heart of the school, gaining a whimsical undulating topographic playscape with active cylinder-shaped learning and gathering spaces.

More details about the competition are featured on the Codhab web page.

Overall exterior view looking towards main access

Site plan diagram

Passive ventilation and sunlight were key design aspects

The program as displayed in the proposed slab + patio typology

Adaptability of proposal to a secondary plot was part of the competition briefing

Ground floor plan (0.0 and + 1.50m levels)

Longitudinal section

Main access on ground floor

Ground floor ramp enclosure with vegetable garden within

Floor plan at +3.00m level

Cross section

4-6 years old classroom type

Floor plan at top level with administrative and peripatoi areas.

The patio becomes the heart of the school with a whimsical undulating topography cohabited by active cylindric-shaped learning spaces.

2-3 year old classroom type

Exterior view

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