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This is a pre-selection competition for the rehabilitation and extension of an existing school, located in the 19th century Lapa neighbourhood, which is the sum of several very different buildings carried out over a hundred years, namely:

​1. a classic pombaline house, built at the same time as the neighbourhood, that, together with a wall and a gate, play a discreet but singular role in the street scene;

​2. a modernist school (Alberto de Sousa, 1953), built on the house's old sloping garden, that organized the playground into two generously sized platforms;

​3. a set of covered passages and a temporary building, built in the 1980s to serve as a gym, that transformed the lower playground into a collection of cramped and unqualified spaces.


The project, taking advantage of the existing fragmentation, takes up a motto that guides the organization and qualification of all the parts of the new school:

The playground is a street.

This street, like a street that has been built over time in a city, is thus served by a sequence of spaces and buildings with different characters and uses.

The house is rehabilitated, highlighting its archetypal features, in order to serve as the children's first school space - the Kindergarten - recognizable and familiar.

The modernist school building is transformed, in order to house all the classrooms and its original extensive covered playground is reopened, flanking a large part of the length of the street, like a loggia.

The Gym is designed as a little sports hall connected with the new sports field.

The Library is designed as a belvedere-bridge that connects the different parts of the set, creating a new covered transition between the two levels of the playground and allowing the children who use it to see all the school as well as the city to which it belongs.


The existing wall of the school, originally above eye height, is slightly lowered so that, on the one hand, it allows anyone passing by on Rua da Bela Vista to see the interior of the school through the garden railing and, on the other hand, it allows children in the school to have a continuous glimpse of the surrounding city and its daily life.

Design Team:

Architecture: José Neves

Collaborators: Carlos Almada, Fernando Vieira, Proteek Ahmed (modelling)

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