The project of the "Integrated elementary-middle school Complex in the Romanina district of Rome" was realized in partnership by Herman Hertzberger and Marco Scarpinato, leader of the group AutonomeForme, after the first prize at the International Competition in two phases "Three new schools in Rome" launched by the Municipality of Rome for the design of an integrated school complex in Romanina.
Following victory in the competition, the temporary "Hertzberger + Scarpinato" Association worked on the preliminary, final and executive project of the new building defining a project that included not only classrooms but also services for the district including a gym, an auditorium and a cafeteria.
The idea that drove the project was to place the building in a hollow at a lower level to the road. This makes the building accessible without resorting to grand solutions, and offers continuity with the outdoor spaces of the urban boulevard and the garden, emphasising the value of continuity in educational and training experiences with the life of the neighbourhood, enhancing the image of the urban street as a meeting place.
Considering the different movement speeds of the pupils, the entrance to the elementary and the middle schools are located on two opposite sides of the building and are characterised by a large spaces to play and socialise, protected by steps that can become open-air theatre and a resting place. This contemporary agora is where the approaches converge and is partially covered and houses the collective functions of the auditorium and the cafeteria.
The building is structured through the repetition of several "basic units" characterised by the presence of a central patio and united along a central path, alternating built spaces and voids. The "basic units" offer various distribution solutions in which each classroom is characterised by different relationships with the distribution of spaces and interior patios that are treated as open-air classrooms for different educational, sportive and play activities.
The distribution is based on the cancelling of the rigid break between the classroom and the pathway and, therefore, the internal path is characterised by the presence of adjacent equipped islands next to the classes in which you can stop to study or develop other activities.
A class that can be opened onto the outer space, contributes to the pupils’ awareness of continuity between objects, it becomes a space crossed by shared experiences, a world that opens on other worlds that communicate and interact with each other.
At school, pupils acquire specific knowledge and build their individuality through social relations. The choices made for this project enhance the value of continuity between the experiences of the educational path.