Dezeen Magazine

Taller Sintesis' El Povenir Children Center

Taller Sintesis creates kindergarten with vaulted rooms in the Colombian Andes

Architecture firm Taller Sintesis has completed a series of brick volumes with arched roofs for a large kindergarten in Colombia.

El Porvenir Children Center is located in Rionegro, a town about 30 kilometres southeast of Medellín. The campus sits along the edge of a dense, middle-class neighbourhood.

The brick volumes by Taller Sintesis
An aerial view of El Povenir Children Center

Taller Sintesis, a Medellín-based firm started in 2008, was charged with designing a new facility to replace a smaller one that did not meet the public kindergarten’s current needs.

The firm conceived eight distinct structures for the kindergarten, which is located on a verdant site bordered by a ravine. In total, the 2,620-square-metre facility can accommodate up to 400 children.

The centre is made up of eight distinct structures
The buildings are made of red brick

At the core of the complex is a central, bar-shaped volume that stretches across the site. Perpendicular to this volume is a staggered row of seven barrel-vaulted pavilions, which project toward the ravine and a newly planted forest.

These have walls formed of red brick and roofs sheathed in white metal. The team incorporated floor-to-ceiling windows and sliding glass doors, which enable occupants to feel connected to the outdoors.

The volumes have white roofs
Each volume has an arched roof

This connection is strengthened by the presence of grassy courtyards between the pavilions.

"These allow not only adequate ventilation and lighting but also enable a direct relationship between the children and nature, giving the landscape a permanent presence in the educational spaces and enabling the effective integration of the classrooms with nature," said the firm.

Taller Sintesis designed the centre
Grassy courtyards connect children to nature

The central volume encompasses a range of spaces, including offices, services for parents and students, a sheltered waiting area and an auditorium that opens to the exterior. There also is a canteen that doubles as a large, covered courtyard.

The arched pavilions hold classrooms and play areas. Bright colours, including vibrant shades of blue and yellow, give each room a particular character while also allowing for easy identification.

The children's centre is by architecture firm Taller Sintesis
Colourful floors act as playful wayfinding devices

Many elements were designed with the size of children in mind, such as carved-out spaces for reading and playing.

"Niches, windows and furniture are arranged at their height, allowing them to build their own landscape, only available to them," the team said.

Other educational facilities in Colombia include a preschool in Santa Marta by El Equipo Mazzanti, which features modular units arranged around triangular courtyards.

Photography is by Mauricio Carvajal.

More images and plans

A render of the children's centre
Plans of El Povenir Children Center
A render of the children's centre
Plans of El Povenir Children Center
El Povenir Children Center
Arched roofs
The red brick volumes
Red bricks make up El Povenir
Arched roofs and colourful floors in the complex
Large windows in El Povenir Children Center
El Povenir Children Center by Taller Sintesis
Taller Sintesis designed the brick volumes
The volumes have arched roofs
Taller Sintesis designed arched roofs