The new School of Arts of Valladolid is adjacent to the convent of Las Carmelitas Descalzas. According to historical plans, the plot used to be part of the convent's orchards, a condition which has characterised the project from the beginning. Towards the city, the buildings shows itself as an architecture of walls; towards the inside, an architecture of patios. The project strives to be respectful of its historical context. However, it houses a space for creativity, youth and dreams. The essence of the project is the materialization of this duality.
The exterior is clad in black brick; an architecture of texture, materiality and colour, which creates a sort of mystifying atmosphere that surrounds and protects the inner world of creation. The interior is thought of, by opposition, as a technological space, white and bright with formal allusions to industrial architecture, production and creation.
The layout mimics the courtyard architecture, inspired by the adjoining convent. The first of two courtyards articulates the classroom area on two levels, while the other, slightly larger, organizes the workshops under a folded concrete shell. The shell is constricted into a straight outline in the façade, folding into itself as it falls into the courtyard, creating a broken profile, resulting in large windows that overlook the patio. We imagine students sharing their experiences in this central space, as an agora for young, dynamic and versatile creation. The patios can be spaces to exhibit, play or interact, updating this traditional typology.
The lobby is the point of intersection between the different users of the building; the place where the diverse artistic disciplines come together. It regulates the entrance and exit, but also becomes a meeting place, where common programs such as the library or the cafeteria are located. This space features a double height associated to the classroom’s patio, where meetings and events can be held.
Taking advantage of the location of the building in relation to the urban fabric, a small welcoming square is gifted to the city. This creates a meeting space for young people, but also for the citizens. The small square, with oversized letters forming the ART sign, will allow the students to sit down to chat, eat a sandwich or have fun. Given its location in the street, it becomes part of the public space, activating the architecture. The building configures a background, and the students themselves the activity that will act as claim for the rest of the city.