It all started with the school winning some participatory budgets animated by the council itself.
The objective was to get a space to play sports in the shade at the CEIP Ginés Díaz-San Cristóbal in Alhama de Murcia.
We immediately began brainstorming ideas to cover the large track on the playground. We began by proposing roofs with different inclinations to respond to the classroom building and avoid throwing a lot of shade into the classrooms so that they could continue to enjoy natural lighting and prevent the students from having the sensation that a UFO had landed on them in their beloved yard.
First, a wooden structure was thought of, taking as a reference the Pere Grau Space Cover of arqbag but difficult to fit into the budget, in our region, a construction of this type.
The next solution that was thought of was to propose a divided roof with different earrings that would respond to the conditions of the place such as the stairs, ramps and stands of the track, but with a metal structure... The numbers did not add up until one day, our colleague Pablo Carbonell from Ecoproyecta, a studio with which we maintain a close collaboration, suggested that we think of a roof that would be self-supporting, that would not require the use of so many straps and therefore the use of so many kilos of material, which in this case would be the steel.
This solution would be the use of curved ribbed steel sheet, that is, a self-supporting metal cover. From here, what remained to be solved was the structural system that would support the roof: metallic structure or concrete? At that time, the prices of materials began to rise uncontrollably and what would apparently be answered quickly beforehand, metal structure, in this case was not the case. Analyzing pros and cons of each system, mainly in terms of maintenance and price, we chose the precast concrete.
Therefore, we direct the project to prefabrication to try to reduce, as far as possible, the carbon footprint, the cost and the execution times of the construction.
From the moment in which the structural system was clear, we began to outline different roof solutions and construction modules responding to the previously mentioned conditions. Combinations with polycarbonate were worked to introduce overhead light to the runway in the small modules corresponding to the entrances to the runway through the ramps and in the large modules covered with metal.
This solution did not quite fit the budget, but it helped us to reach the final solution that has been carried out on the small track in the courtyard.
The next step was to study the feasibility of the small track. In this one, we had practically no determining factors, so the first discard was the polycarbonate vaults and abandoning that idea of overhead lighting and assuming that, since it is not a covered pavilion, but rather a roof for a track, the lighting was guaranteed by the 4 fronts. The next step was to think about the module that we would use and the division of the dome. The division in 3 was agreed.
The dimensions of the track were 39.65x20 m. It was decided to cover the court with 3 light vaults of 11.24 m. This allowed us to work with some Artwing beams, which could span the 23m from pillar to pillar and also serve as a water collection system. The supporting structure of the project is made up of 8 50x50cm pillars, between 7.00-7.20 m high, with a 12.95 m center distance, and 4 beams 2.5 m wide and 1.10 m high. These precast pillars are embedded in the footings by means of a chalice, allowing us to obtain a clean meeting point between the footing and the pillar.
The roof slopes slightly towards the classroom, specifically 1% slope to facilitate the collection of rainwater at the end of the beam through a nest and a galvanized steel downspout as the final sculptural element of this roof.
The most outstanding part of the project is the roof, it is the main element, but level 0 was also worked on. The new sports court was designed taking advantage of the existing one as a firm base to reduce the generation of waste. To reduce the use of unsustainable materials, since the use of wood could not be used, we avoided the use of mesh for the track and fiberglass was used. The track, which in its current state was no longer level with the rest of the patio, but emerged as a plateau in it and around it formed slopes of earth, now increased its level with respect to level 0 of the patio, and was took the opportunity to integrate the upper faces of the footings into the track. The footings on the classroom side, where the unevenness is more pressing, 0.37 m, are resolved as benches.
Accessibility to the runway is resolved with a wide ramp that collects the 2 central footings and the connection with the large runway is improved.
Therefore, a different roofing solution is achieved, out of the standard, avoiding that figure of a gabled sheet metal roof that resembles "a farm", through 2 commonly used constructive elements such as concrete and steel, but worked differently. We believe as stated in the Architecture Quality Law "Architectural creation, the quality of constructions, their harmonious integration into the environment, respect for natural and urban landscapes, as well as collective and private heritage, are of public interest" , and so it happened because the work aroused the interest of both the older ones and, above all, the little ones at school who watched with concern and curiosity, both from class and when they were taking a break at recess, the construction of their new facility.