rcjv arquitectos

Modernisation of Sebastião da Gama School . Setúbal

courtesy of rcjv arquitectos | Ricardo Carvalho + Joana Vilhena Arquitectos . photos: Joao Morgado

The Modernisation Project for the Sebastião da Gama School is based on improving the school and its relationship with the
city of Setúbal.


Existing building


 library . auditorium
 sports hall
 library level 0
 library . auditorium

This process includes both exterior and interior areas. The basis of all public spaces, and particularly
schools, is about the balanced relationship between both. This relationship is responsible for the memory of the first
collectively shareable areas in a community. The project orders, rearranges and locates not only the programme and
circulations but also the design of the outside area.
The starting point for the project is the setting – both symbolically and functionally – of an exterior central space, which
regularises and completes the area where people circulate, creating a paving plan that is perceptible as the centre of the
school. The structural presence of Learning Street (in line with the School Network programme) was interpreted as a way of
intercepting all areas of the school, reacting to the succession of interior and exterior, covered and open spaces, finishing off
an area of student and teacher activity easily perceptible as a distributive scheme.
For this system to become intelligible and effective, the creation of the new building (which contains the library, multi-use
room, copy room, café and outdoor playing field) between the main class building and the gymnasium was very important.
This aims to be the logical conclusion of a system that is today considered to be unfinished.
The Project involves:
- Construction of a new porter’s building next to the main gate of the school.
- Rehabilitation, infra-structural and anti-seismic intervention. Improvements in the area of heating/air-conditioning, acoustics
and accesses, such as vertical communications (with the installation of a lift in the west atrium). Emphasising the central
nature of the Atrium and from there establishing links with all the programmatic areas.
- Improvements to the workshops and conditions in the area of heating/air-conditioning, acoustics and accesses. Changes
to the old mechanics workshop, in order to allow the creation of an indoor football pitch, changing rooms and stands. This
provides a covered sports area with natural light, which can be used by the local community without affecting the smooth
running of the school.
- Improvements to outside areas, restoration of paved areas, creation of shaded areas, installation of fixed furniture and
leisure zones with planting of trees.
The project puts the programmatic areas into order, establishing a hierarchy of use and inter-relation, using their scale and
dimensioning vocation, their position in relation to the Atrium and other available areas within the existing space as a starting
point. The main teaching area groups were kept and diffuse uses were changed, concentrating uses with programmatic

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