The Luís Freitas Branco school is in a suburban area in expansion, made up of residential buildings, highways and commercial facilities spread in a territory which used to be occupied by industrial structures and agricultural fields.
The school, inaugurated in the 70’s, is organized around small, prefabricated pavilions, in a landscape with a strong slope.
During the years, with the consolidation of the urban grid, the borders of the school area were occupied by small residential buildings, denied the relation with the main roads of the neighborhood. Access and internal circulation were difficult, and the buildings were very degraded.
The project takes advantage of part of the pre-existing pavilions – which are recovered, so that the classrooms can be installed there –, reorganizing the entire functional structure of the school complex around two large outdoor spaces: the reception square and the playground.
The whole functional program was reorganized around two big exterior spaces: the reception square and the recreation patio. The limits of the two areas are defined by the two new buildings – the Central and the Pedagogic Building – which established internal and external relationships, by physically dividing the square and the patio, but by functionally joining them.
The circulation areas are considered spaces for living, socializing and studying. The main entrance to the complex is redesigned, in order to recover the urban relationship between the school complex and the town of Paço d’Arcos.
After the conclusion of the construction works it was noticed an improvement of the students’ academic results and a constant use of the building throughout the year.

[with a.s* – atelier de santos]