Premio COAM 2019. Premio LUIS M. MANSILLA 2019
In November 2016, Runnymede College – a British school located in Madrid, Spain – called for an architecture competition to configure its premises, of 6.760 sq. mt. property including new and existing buildings, the common spaces and the sport grounds, according to an Anglo Saxon academic and environmental model. A pragmatic approach to knowledge, interdisciplinary programs, the charismatic figure of the tutor and an emphasis on collaborative work shape the character of the spatial organization, its atmosphere and the system of visual and physical relationships. Rojo/Fernández-Shaw won the competition with the catchword “UNCAMPUS” (one campus).
The proposal UNCAMPUS endowed the school premises with the programmatic spirit with which it was founded 52 years ago. Thus, the campus is designed as an open field, where outdoors spaces and gathering areas acquire the prominent role, while buildings are conceived as pavilions scattered along unbounded precincts.
The order of UNCAMPUS revolves around the common space, central but shapeless, open and continuous like a natural environment. Constructions are settled in an apparently imprecise pattern, alien to any completed geometry, enhancing internal relationships while displaying a symbolical character. The place for reunion, visibility and socialization of the school’s community doesn’t impose a hierarchy. Thus, the general structure is concentric around a symbolic place whose undelimited form adapts to the school’s life and reshapes with it along the day. There Runnymede’s identity becomes visible, housing simultaneously the movement and encounters of school’s daily life. And the architecture of pavilions dissolves informally as independent fragments along a picturesque garden.
Founder’s Hall has been the first to be developed, a rectangular pavilion up to 3.150 sq. mt. distributed in three floors, built upon an existing concrete grid structure to embrace classrooms, laboratories and study rooms of the Senior School. An indoor sports facility, a new library, the full renovation of the Primary School building, an underground parking for the purpose of removing all motor vehicles from the grounds of the campus and, finally, the conformation of a new topography and its landscape will follow, stage by stage, in order to achieve the new environment pursued for the new Runnymede.