The Street as (Re)Structuring Element in the City

School Building as Public Space Generator in Santo Antonio of Principe

This is an exercise that goes through all architectural scales such as Urban Plan, Facilities building, Dwelling and Materials investigation, seeking to develop a feasible possibility fitted in San Tome and Principe context, informed by local history, climate, customs and economy.

Image work detail

1. Santo António, smallest city in the world, settles on a fragmented territory strongly marked by formal and informal realities. Along the time several problems had emerged due to weak municipality´s management, such as lack of infrastructures and superstructures, both stimulating a progressive desertification and decrease urban quality life.

2. The Urban Plan was developed based on a prospective program seeking to create a new centrality through a multifunctional building, a technical and professional school. The redesigned city follows the election of new “primary elements” and proposes a new public space system to relate formal and informal city. 3/4. School building reflects a spatial organization focused on local´s lifestyle and its structured by the main street of the city, sedimented with different activities that go beyond scholar education and intended to be used on a everyday life. The new school integrates different professional courses helps people to understand island´s potentials and provides tools for creation of new resources. 5. The materials palette focuses on pre-existing resources on Principe Island, using local materials and new construction techniques feasible by low-skilled labour. The materiality proposed is a result of a project research, which focuses on innovation of local´s construction methods by incorporation new building techniques: wicker as coverage to shade metal sheet and absorb rain noise; wood walls reusing metal sheet wastes for fixing elements; compressed earth blocks (CEB) with new components – basalt stone powder, pigments, lime or cement with variable percentages; and cement blocks with addition of local basalt powder. All these techniques were tested during the project research, including CEB that was tested in a laboratory. 6. The house also thought to be built with the same materials as the school, is an evolutive typology, capable to adapt to family growth. It was inspired in local culture with a strong relationship with outdoor space, low water resources, outdoor food confection and dormitories instead of rooms.