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BORDERS AND BOUNDARIES MASTER DISSERTATION Programa Angeles Descalzos Santa Ana, El Salvador Vincent Van Impe

Academic promotor: Dr. Arch. Koen De Wandeler Master of Science in Architecture 2012-2013, 19/06/2013 Campus Ghent 1


BORDERS AND BOUNDARIES Vincent Van Impe

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CONTENTS 1. ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS (p.5) 2. INTRODUCTION (p.9) 3. RESEARCH ON SITE (p.11) 3.1 SANTA ANA (p.11) 3.2 MARKET AND BUS TERMINAL (p.15) 3.3 GANGS AND BORDERS (p.20) 3.4 BOUNDARIES AND SMALL SPACES (p.25) 3.5 PROGRAMA ANGELES DESCALZOS (p.28) 3.6 ESCAPE (p.30) 3.7 ANALYSIS OF THE CURRENT STRUCTURE (p.31) 3.8 LOCAL BUILDING TRADITIONS AND MATERIALS (p.42) 3.9 CLIMATE (p.46) 4. READING (p.50) 4.1 SCHOOLS OF THE FUTURE (p.50) 4.2 PEOPLE AND PLACES (p.52) 4.3 MAGGIE'S ARCHITECTURAL BRIEF (p.58) 4.4 SCHOOLS OF HERMAN HERTZBERGER (p.60) 4.5 GLENN MURCUTT (p.62) 4.6 RURAL STUDIO (p.64) 4.7 GEOFFREY BAWA (p.66) 5. DESIGN PROCESS (p.69) 5.1 FOCUS ON ATMOSPHERES (p.69) 5.2 TWO ATMOSPHERES (p.71) 5.3 INCORPORATING ORIGINAL STRUCTURE (p.75) 5.4 ONE GESTURE (p.79) 5.5 A GRADIENT OF BORDERS AND BOUNDARIES (p.85) 5.6 USING THE LOCAL LANGUAGE (p.93) 6. CONCLUSION (p.103) 6. BIBLIOGRAPHY (p.105)

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ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

First of all, I would like to express my greatest gratitude to my promotor Dr. Arch Koen De Wandeler and mentor Arch. Wim Goes for their guidance. It is difficult to describe how much I learned from both of them during this master dissertation. I would also like to thank Carlos HenrĂ­quez and his family for their extraordinary hospitality and advice during my visits to El Salvador and afterwards. Last, but not least a special thank you to my family for their everlasting support during these five years. Their model-making skills got better over the years.

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BORDERS AND BOUNDARIES Vincent Van Impe

bor·der (bôr’dәr) * 1 noun pl. bord·ers 1. A part that forms the outer edge of something. 2. The line or frontier area separating political divisions or geographic regions.

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bound·a·ry (boun'dә-rē, -drē) * 1 noun pl. bound·a·ries 1. Something that indicates a border or limit. 2. Refers to lines that delimit property

*Although often interchanged, the connotation of border is more of an imaginary line, while the meaning of boundary is generally a physical obstruction. In the city of Santa Ana these two definitions influence the daily life tremendously. This master dissertation looks for the meanings behind them and the consequences for Programa Angeles Descalzos. 7


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INTRODUCTION For tourists in El Salvador, the city of Santa Ana is a must-do. In the center you find beautiful early 20th century architecture in the form of a cathedral, theatre and city hall. Everything is located around a small public park where locals meet each other in the refreshing shadows of a few trees. It looks like a typical Central American sight. However, wander off for a couple of hundred meters and you find yourself in a whole different world. This is the Southern part of the city: the market district, the real Santa Ana. In the heart of the market stands a large eight meter high hall, hiding hundreds of little stalls. Packed together they form a network of narrow, dark and smelly corridors. The vendors working in the market form the largest part of the urban poor. They have to work long and hard to beat the competition. Therefore they rely on their children to help out. Starting at a very young age they have to find their way in this city within a city. It is a brutal place to grow up. The improvised stalls create often hazardous working conditions for the children and many of them get abused or even molested in the abundant dark corners. It is almost no surprise that the children of the market become an easy prey for one of El Salvador’s major problems: gangs. To cope with this predicament, one of the few development organizations of the country ASAPROSAR opened a center for this group of children called Programa Angeles Descalzos or the Barefoot Angels Program. Barefoot Angels looks after these children and offers them half a day in the center and half a day at school. For the lost labor their parents get compensated with a participation in ASAPROSAR’s microcredit program, which tries to improve the health of the urban poor. The center provides tutoring, computer and English classes, dance, theater, sports, and health and sex education. But most importantly, the children learn about rules, morals and how the world behind the walls of Barefoot Angels works through fun games and without noticing it themselves.

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BORDERS AND BOUNDARIES Vincent Van Impe

It was during my VLIR-UOS scholarship that I came across Barefoot Angels. At the moment I first entered the children and mentors were playing one of those games. A mini-market was held under the hot metal roof where children could buy stuff ranging from footballs to advertised t-shirts. Ofcourse no real money was used, but points that could be collected by good behaviour, good results in school or even just showing up at the center that day. While overlooking this method of education I started to wonder about the possibilities of architecture influencing the development of these children. Later I learned that the organization will lose part of their infrastructure ( an adjacent house with toilets, kitchen, storage space) and are looking for a pro bono architect to design something new.

Overview sketch of the site and surroundings. Two open areas hidden behind boundaries. The current building pushed in a corner and the property that will be lost below it, with its back to the football field. 10


RESEARCH ON SITE A few months later I returned to Santa Ana to research Barefoot Angels and the city around it. In this chapter this search and the implications for the base of the design will be explained.

SANTA ANA The second largest city of the country is well known for its industrial activity. Multiple foreign businesses have a department here and the coffee production is the highest of El Salvador. Despite all the activity, the development of the city seems to have frozen and there are no real plans for the future 2. A few years ago, the government published a set of maps showing the urban layout and another set revealing the new goals for the urban planning of every major city, including Santa Ana 2 (p12-13). Peculiarly, the differences are hard to spot. The only planed development is found in the south of the city in the form of ‘urban recreation’. These new spots are placed on the borders between the urban tissue and the ‘suelo urbano no consolidado’, which in essence is a mess of illegal constructions. In El Salvador they are often found along the main roads in between cities. Here people built their own houses on the embankments with gathered materials and wood. Slowly but steadily single constructions grew into small settlements. These plans of the government could be an attempt to reform this area into a fullfledged part of the city. However in the center and the neighborhood of the site there will be no real changes in the coming years or maybe decades.

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BORDERS AND BOUNDARIES Vincent Van Impe

Diagnostico Santa Ana - Analysis of Santa Ana 2

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Normativo Santa Ana - Normative of Santa Ana 2

Black circle: market area Pink circle: planned urban recreation Other differences are changes in color code

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RESEARCH ON SITE

MARKET AND BUS TERMINAL The market of Santa Ana spreads around a terminal where buses arrive from all parts of El Salvador. The combination of these two functions makes this area the most active of the city. The market and terminal grew gradually together. People departing on a long journey buy water and prepared food in plastic bags from the vendors. Being the only source of income for many locals, the market is bursting at the seams. The big halls are completely filled up and stalls started to move to the streets, closer to the costumers. Step by step they claimed more and more space, covering the earth from the sun.

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As shown on the map, the entrance ways of the terminal are already filled with market stalls. Although the market depends on the arrival of buses, it hinders the movement of the vehicles. In June of 2012 the local government published an ordinance regarding the regulation of commerce on the streets and public places3, in which it states: "The speed and disorganized nature of the growth of the market in the public space of the city center prevents the free transit of pedestrians and vehicles and creates dangerous situations. The improvised nature of these markets also damages the image of the city and the possibility to control the community and organize taxes." • 16

Art. 1: This ordinance regulates the activity of formal and informal businesses in public places.


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• • • •

Art. 10: It prohibits the placement of signs or merchandise on the streets. Art. 13: It prohibits commercial activities at a distance less than 200m of a historical monument, health center, church, schools, squares and parks - unless authorized. Art. 20: Adequate infrastructure is necessary to ensure food to be healthy and clean. Art. 31: Commercial activities in forbidden zones will be sanctioned by the immediate eviction of the offender.

Despite these new rules to organize the area, the situation has not changed up until now. Does the government realize that this is a mission impossible or are they planning a big cleanup in a single sweep? The latter is what happened in the capital of El Salvador, San Salvador, only a few months after my VLIR-UOS trip. Almost 5000 government employees were deployed to remove all informal market stalls on the streets over an area of 33 city blocks 4. Hundreds of merchants lost their only source of income. The buses in the terminal of Santa Ana serve on 32 different routes that cover the whole of El Salvador, but even cross the borders to Guatemala and Honduras. In total there are 222 vehicles that stop here between 1 and 5 times a day. It is no surprise that this amount of activity attracts merchants, as it is understandable that the narrowing roads are a negative consequence. Therefore more and more bus drivers skip the terminal and stop nearby on the open roads.

The destruction of an informal market area in San Salvador, October 20124 17


BORDERS AND BOUNDARIES Vincent Van Impe

The bus terminal: merchants walk by the windows or even get on.

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Buses stop where people gather, the merchants follow

Officially, buses may only stop at preditermined places. The reality is that drivers pick up anyone that signals them. This way new 'official' stops are created where people gather, often market stalls. This new hot spot attracts more merchants and as a result the market spreads. The competition in this area is fierce, and there is one thing that makes the life of these people even more difficult: gangs.

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BORDERS AND BOUNDARIES Vincent Van Impe

GANGS AND BORDERS In 1979 a civil war broke loose in El Salvador. Guerillas fought government forces in their attempt to take back farmland from the highest classes for the peasants6. During 13 years of extreme violence many people immigrated to the United States, mainly Los Angeles. However, here another war was brewing, one between races: White versus Black versus Hispanic. Racial groups were formed to defend themselves and their neighborhood, but eventually evolved into terrorizing gangs. When peace was declared in 1992 many El Salvadorians were happy to return home, others were evicted. Along with the people, the gangs moved too. They arrived in a country where a massive amount of weapons were still in circulation and locals still bitter about the past decade. The fight for territory continues on the streets of El Salvador’s cities. The way these gangs were formed sets them apart from most others in the world. They are not so much about trafficking drugs, but all about defending their territory with a passionate hate for every outsider. This conquest has shaped cities like Santa Ana drastically, even in seemingly invisible ways. The different territories form borders between housing blocks. Locals know exactly where they are, because crossing them can mean your death sentence. For an outsider however it is very difficult to find out. Luckily gang members care less about these ‘tourists’ and mostly only keep an eye on them while they wander on their land. For the locals however they pose a very real threat causing people to be stuck on an island within their city. There are two main gangs in El Salvador: MS13 or Mara Salvatrucha and 18th street. They defend their small territories under the moto “Hasta que morimos” - “untill we die”. Members are very proud to be part of this so called family and show their loyalty with tattoos. Now, this decade long trend is losing in popularity. This is because of the ‘Mano Duro’ the police forces direct. It means that every person showing tattoos can be taken into custody without more profound reasons. New tattoos are now placed on more hidden spots of the body. As a result it is impossible to recognise most gang members on the street anymore. Except for the few that are marked with the gang number (13 or 18) on their faces. This tattoo is actually often a punishment, as they are no longer safe to go in public. The Mano Duro, is a strong statement by the police. However, some say that it is 20


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only an act to create a feeling of safety for the community5. Often the special police forces are pursued by a whole flock of journalists during planed raids. In many cases the criminals have already escaped from the premises, but at least the action got documented. It is argued by sceptics that bribed police officers tip off the gangs in advance5. To keep up the show, only the lowest ranking members get arrested. This keeps the newspapers busy and the people happy.

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BORDERS AND BOUNDARIES Vincent Van Impe

The war between gangs: a vicious circle of taking revenge Photo by Tomas Munita for The New York Times

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Mano duro: daily arrests of suspected gang members Photo by Tomas Munita for The New York Times

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RESEARCH ON SITE

BOUNDARIES AND SMALL SPACES Unfortunately the danger doesn’t only come from rivalry territories. Gangs need money to operate and they are forced to find it in their own neighborhood in the form of ‘protection money’. Every merchant in the area has to pay this fee. Even bus drivers crossing a border are forced to share the profit in order to avoid accidents. It is paying or being killed… by the same gang. During my stay I heard of many examples of murders that happened because locals refused –or were not able to- pay. Out of that constant fear for gang retaliation people started to build physical borders around their property. Every window or door is covered with steel fences, every property surrounded by high walls and layers of barbwire dominate every view. When you walk the streets of Santa Ana you feel closed in. To learn more about the children I would be designing for it was necessary to see where and how they lived. The situation was eye-opening. Knowing that most people in this area live of the market it is logical that they all want to live closeby. First of all to avoid transportation costs, but also be-cause their day starts at 4 a.m. when the first trucks arrive from Guatemala with cheap goods they can resell. In a country with little social care it is no surprise that landlords want to profit from this high demand. One house is divided into many small rooms, mostly around 6 by 6 meters. One room, one family. Two adults and generally two or three children live, sleep and eat in this space. Sometimes a small wall separates the children’s beds from the parent’s, giving only a little more privacy, but narrowing the space even more. Children suffacate in these cavernous rooms: they long to play outside, shout, and run in the open. Unfortunately, on the busy streets, where vehicles always have highest priority and daily lethal accidents happen, playing children are not welcomed. Furthermore, they would disrupt the activities of the market and terminal. Apparently it is something that police forced take very seriously, because parents, whose children get caught, are threatened with fines. Something they can miss like a hole in the head. The children of Santa Ana’s market district are bored and frustrated. Now the fast gang life becomes an appealing alternative. 25


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PROGRAMA ANGELES DESCALZOS The calling of a gang life is what Programa Angeles Descalzos is trying to fight. In the center they offer a wide open space, one that is rare within the city. There is a football field, a basketball ring and a playground. However, this program is about more than that. - Formal and informal education One half of the day, the children are send to school, where they learn to read and do math: the usual things. The other half of the day they come to the center and there the education continues in an informal way. While some are running around, others ask for help with homework. Also mural paintings and posters with life lessons and encouraging words can be found all over the site. One of them portrayed the mentality of the program perfectly: “Aqui no existe el no puedo” or “I cannot do it doesn’t exist here”. - Arts and crafts Another activity the children can chose to do is arts and crafts. They learn to express themselves or make useful items with everyday materials. A local artist named Claudia Flores often comes over to assist. She is specialized in working with garbage and transforming it into these colorful and contemporary looking objects. One of her workshops teaches to make coin purses and pencil cases out of recycled plastic. The results get sold to local shops (or visiting students) and the profit goes to the center. - Public speaking It is important for the children to get self-confidence and they learn it by speaking in front of others. Everyday a few children are picked out to read a short story to the others or say a prayer before a snack. The youngest still struggle with every sentence, but the oldest of the group are almost yelling out the words. The method seems to work, but it is another activity that really does the trick: magic. Some kids are really passionate about learning magic tricks and showing them to others. That way they perform sometimes for bigger crowds outside of the center than inside. - Psychology class Above one of the doors of the small building is written: “Terapia educativa”. The words sound serious and maybe it is one of the most important tasks of Barefoot Angels. In this room children get psychological treatment if necessary by America 28


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Aranjo, head mentor with a degree in the matter. She says it is important that when a child has suffered a traumatic experience that he or she gets separated immediately and be “worked on”. Every barefoot angel has been at least once inside that room, as everyone of them has witnessed at least one murder or has been beaten up in the market or at home. It is interesting to know that gangs in general respect the work of Barefoot Angels. They don’t care about the lost soldiers. Many members have children themselves and although they would die for their familia, it is not a future they want for their children. This is a unique situation and a rare possibility for a sustainable way out of the gang controlled life of El Salvador. Change through the children. However, as much as they believe the program works, the also think that those that are not enrolled don’t stand a chance. Those kinds are still potential soldiers. Furthermore, the work of Barefoot Angels is not appreciated by every single gang member. In a sister project at the outskirts of Santa Ana there are often problems with men intimidating the boys and taunting the girls. There are no walls to keep them away. This shows how important the protection around Barefoot Angels is. The high brick walls and metal gate hide an oasis for the outside world and it should be kept this way.

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BORDERS AND BOUNDARIES Vincent Van Impe

ESCAPE The center can be described as a safehouse, a place to escape to. Surprisingly, this not the feeling the children have. They have already come to terms with the violence, fear and poverty that are part of daily life. They are not trying to escape from reality, but going to a place they can call their own and focus on themselves. It is crucial to keep this atmosphere; to keep the treasure that is hidden behind the walls, only to be found by the children. Therefore the walls and gate should be maintained as they are, the architecture should neither be clearly visible from the streets around. Perhaps a slight hint to make people curious. The focus of the design should be on the different characters of spaces. The new design should stand in shrill contrast with the one-room-for-every-function the children know at home. For their development it is crucial that they are in an environment that stimulates all senses and encourages them to experiment7.

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ANALYSIS OF THE CURRENT STRUCTURE Before anything could be designed, the existing structures, rooms and spaces had te be analysed. First of all on the level of children. What are their experiences? Secondly, on performance (light, ventilation, waterproofing,...).

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TERAPIA EDUCATIVA psychology class 32


CURRENT SITUATION • • • • • • • •

Largest room of the complex Too large for psychology session 1-8 children: feel lost, too open, vulnerable Too many destractions: drawings, charts, different materials and colors, playing children outside Large openings towards busy outside space Fences in front of openings: although tradition, feels like a cage Blue color: calming, but can be related to sadness Yellow color: helps mental stimulation, but can be fatiguing Fluorescent light: industrial, shadowless

AIM • • • •

Small and cozy, designed for max 8 children On the scale of a child No associations with home A ‘safe house’: high and dry, quiet, not possible to look inside 33


BORDERS AND BOUNDARIES Vincent Van Impe

BIBLIOTECA library and computer room 34


CURRENT SITUATION • • • • • • •

Has no clear identity or function Computers look stored Blue color: calming Northern light, but not sufficient Fluorescent lighting No comfortable places to sit and read Too chaotic to concentrate

AIM • • • • • •

Interesting space to attract children Contemporary elements: unknown Cool colors: light violet: concentration Warm materials: coziness Diffuse light Seperate sitting corners 35


BORDERS AND BOUNDARIES Vincent Van Impe

SALON UNA playroom and office 36


CURRENT SITUATION • • • • •

No clear identity, no quality Too chaotic as an office Too Small as a playroom Feels closed in, no connection to outside play area Mentor at desk cannot see children outside

AIM • Two seperate spaces • Office mentors -Overview over site -No access for children -Attractive -Scale of adult -A place that makes the children dream to be a mentor one day • Playroom -A storage for all toys -Directly connected to outside play area -Can open up: 1 space 37


BORDERS AND BOUNDARIES Vincent Van Impe

ESPACIO PRINCIPAL eating - playing - arts&crafts 38


CURRENT SITUATION • • • • • • •

Heart of the complex Just enough space to seat every child Used for all activities Sunken in ground: water problems when heavy rain fall Metal roof: very hot space, although shaded Toilets for the children very prominent in the space Kitchen far away (in part that will be lost)

AIM • • • • • • •

Two seperate spaces: crafts and cafetaria or play hall and cafetaria >< home situation: always same space Only a roof High spaces Very minimal design: flow between open and covered Connection between different spaces Space to play/crafts: allow modifications through workshops Space to eat linked with kitchen 39


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RESEARCH ON SITE

Within the rules of Angeles Descalzos, the children need to feel a certain freedom inside the complex. They have to feel in control over their environment. An environment where they can experiment, one that challenges them to be creative and learn. A place that stimulates all senses. • • • • • • •

Open spaces that flow into eachother. Cozy corners to call your own Not 1 building to spend the whole day, but moving from one space to the other. Keep a large part of the site completely open. No fences or high walls inside Architecture visible from the streets (advertising) A space for the mentors Include signs, drawings, black boards,.. in the design Every space/function has an own identity

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Local building traditions and materials Traditional housing found in old city centers or in the rural areas exists only out of a ground level or for the most with one storey. The builders were limited by the properties of their materials: adobe (see further) and wood. However, with the modernistic movement, new building techniques were introduced into Central America and they became extremely popular. Now, new buildings arise completely out of poured concrete or concrete blocks. It is cheap, easy and… ‘civilized’. Of course the properties of concrete make it also very interesting to use in earthquake hotspots, which the entire country is. The demand is so high that the building industry seems to forget about other structural materials such as timber and steel. The production of structural timber is very marginal in El Salvador. When looking for a reason, the answer was at least surprising: “There is just not enough forest” [Carlos Henríquez, local architect] The country looks like a sea of green at first glance, but actually almost 85 percent of its forested cover has disappeared since the 1960’s. Now, only 5 percent of the land area is still forested. [rainforests.mongabay.com/20elsalvador.html, 24/03/2013] As a result, projects with timber have become scarce. Buildings that are constructed this way exist only out of small diameter beams and columns to span short distances up to 6 meters. Examples are mainly found in the coastal area in the form of beach houses and canopies. To cover larger spans, where laminated timber is preferable, resources have to be imported from Mexico or Costa Rica [Carlos Henriquez]. This adds a lot of extra costs to a project and therefore most clients succumb to the use of the grey matter.

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Adobe is made out of sand, clay and water. To bind this mixture sticks or straws are added. This also allows the brick to dry evenly and avoid tears. After pouring the adobe into a mold, it is left to dry in the sun. Although very inexpensive, it makes very durable structures and its great thermal mass is another significant advantage. However, they are known to be susceptible to earthquake damage.In the 2001 earthquakes in El Salvador, 1.100 people died, more than 150.000 adobe buildings were severely damaged or collapsed and over 1.600.000 people were affected8.

A traditional adobe and timber house on the country side of El Salvador9

Generally adobe buildings are not the safest option in seismic areas. Due to their large mass, these structures develop high levels of seismic forces, which cause severe cracking and disintegration of walls. The most damage is seen where different elements meet: walls separate in corners and roofs detach from the walls. However, there are ways to improve adobe constructions in their seismic resistance. For example a ring beam tying the walls in a box-like structure can prevent corners 43


BORDERS AND BOUNDARIES Vincent Van Impe

to break up. This beam can be made of concrete or timber. Additional vertical and horizontal reinforcement inside the adobe should also be provided. Strong, ductile material, such as bamboo, timber, chicken wire or steel bars can be inserted during the construction. The vertical and horizontal elements have to be tied together to provide a stable matrix that will maintain the integrity of the walls after they have broken into larger pieces10. Some more considerations to achieve an earthquake-resistant adobe house: • Build only one storey houses • Lightweight roof • Only small openings (1m20 followed by at least 1m20 of wall) • Build on a concrete or stone foundation With the introduction of concrete construction types from western countries, adobe got a more negative connotation. Being cheap and made out of earth, it is a material for the poor. This is a very unfortunate situation, as the use of adobe is in many ways more interesting than concrete and definitely more sustainable. Maybe if used in a contemporary way, it might change people’s mentality.

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BORDERS AND BOUNDARIES Vincent Van Impe

CLIMATE - WEATHER CONDITIONS - GEOGRAPHY In the Köppen Climate Classification System11 the City of Santa Ana (and most of El Salvador) is classified as a tropical savannah climate, which means there are two distint seasons: a dry season (November to May) and a wet season (May to November). The temperature in these zones usually vary between 32 degrees Celsius during the day and an average of 22 degrees at night. Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year

Average 27 29 31 30 30 28 29 30 28 28 26 25 high °C Average 15 16 16 18 19 18 18 18 17 16 14 13 low °C Record 10 12 11 13 11 14 12 11 8 5 7 9 low °C

28 17 10

Table 1: Temperatures measured in Santa Ana12

Santa Ana’s geographical position makes makes that the climate, although in the same climate zone, feels different from other parts of the country. The city is located in the center of the country, surrounded by forested mountain ranges and volcanos. This results in an oppressive heat, because there is almost no sensible wind and a relative humidity between 70% and 75%. Wind in this region has a speed between 0 - 5km/h: the lowest category on the Beaufort Scale with the description: “Smoke drift indicates wind direction. Leaves and wind vanes are stationary.” This means you cannot rely completely on wind for natural ventilation, but rather on convection: rising hot air escaping through the roof and cool air pullled inside through openings on the ground level. Jan

Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec

Average close close rainfall to 0 to 0 (mm) Average 1 1 rainfall days 46

4

12

51

90

45

42 105 42

12

6

2

4

11

16

16

12

3

1

Table 2: Rainfall in Santa Ana

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Average rainfall (mm) Average rainfall days

Jan

Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec

60

61

47

43

48

72

80

75

68

62

72

75

8

9

9

9

8

7

7

7

6

6

8

8

Table 3: Rainfall in Belgium

Table 2 shows the average rainfall in the district of Santa Ana. It is clear that there are two very different seasons. This has an immense impact on the vegetation and the overall landscape of the country. It would be interesting to capture the rainwater for the dry season. Table 3 shows the situation in Belgium to compare the amount rain falling down (and possibly collected) in one month.

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Jan

Sunshine (h/day)

Position sun (째)

8

Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec 9

9

9

8

7

7

7

6

6

8

8

Table 4: Average hours of sunshine Jan

Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec

53

59

69

81

88

81

81

86

84

72

61

54

Table 5: Highest position of Sun The hours of sunshine in a day over the whole year are almost equal. The position of the sun on the other hand differs quite a lot between the dry season (low position) and rainy season (almost vertical). These very different circumstances will have a big impact on the design. Vertical sunlight is interesting for creating small courtyards and drawing defuse light into the building. But with a low point of 53째, too much light will enter the rooms without large overhanging roofs.

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READING On the one hand this design proposal will have a very important emotional factor. Here the social and cultural study of the field research will have a big influence on the design decisions. To know how to respond correctly to the situation, I wanted to learn more about ‘emotional architecture’. On the other hand the design has to be very technical to give real solutions to the conditions of the site: sun, water, ventilation,… In this chapter the most important literature and architects that were an inspiration will be explained.

SCHOOLS OF THE FUTURE design proposals from architectural psychology Rotraut Walden In this book Walden explores the history of school buildings, the ideas behind them and formulates ideas for future designs. The ways we gather knowledge has drastically changed. Thanks to the internet students can get information from field experts on every topic. This is the information age. Logically, the architecture of schools that are conform to this new educational system, will also change. Design ideas that should be kept in mind according to Walden: •

Children should be stimulated to engage in individual investigation and exploration through appealing design of spaces, with workshop-like classrooms and a variety of materials. This will create an array of forms of learning.

The environment should stimulate children’s senses and provide the opportunity for a playful engagement and experience with the elements earth, water, fire and air.

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The school should be a place where children would want to stay and play with friends in their free time. Outside areas should offer different opportunities.

The sense of equilibrium is as important as stimulating spaces for human well-being. Our vision needs fixed orientation points as well as the challenge of the imperfect. But exaggeration harbors the danger of chaos. Angels for example provoke and in extreme cases irritate the sense of equilibrium.

The correct use of colors is another important aspect. Although there are no universally valid rules to follow and they are often the subject of trends, there are some things to keep in mind: .Choose colors to facilitate vision: no strong contrast between black board and wall, because that might be fatiguing. . Blues are more calming than reds . Light colors feel less overcrowded . Reddish-violet is appropriate for spaces involving physical exercise. . Light violet is appropriate for spaces involving mental skills and concentration, but also fine manual work. . Orange fits workshop spaces (an active color without blue) . Use different shades of lightness to accentuate different areas within the room

It is clear that the ‘school of the future’ no longer is a mere practical building. It has to be interactive with different atmospheres for different types of education. There are many design ideas to keep in mind, but the most important one simply is: design on a children’s scale.

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PEOPLE AND PLACES connections between the inner and outer landscape John R. Myer and Margaret H. Myer

â&#x20AC;&#x153;The question arose as to whether the early ages of our lives really had a significant impact on later experiences of place. Each individual experiences a particular age and passes from it and into the next in his own way. The culmination of these sequential experiences leaves an individual imprint. Changes or differences that are apparently slight or subtle can affect the process in surprisingly significant ways.â&#x20AC;?

In this book the authors describe how the different stages of our youth shape our inner landscape and how that affects our feelings about the outer landscape we inhabit. When inner and outer landscape are in harmony, we respond positively. In the first stage, when a child is younger than two years old, they develop already trust and attachment to people, places and things. To get attached, a continuity is necessary. This feeling is something we look for in architecture as well. Why are we drawn to medieval villages? They have continually provided shelter and protection for centuries. They also leave an impression of intimacy and containment thanks to the narrow, winding, handmade ways.

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Corippo, Ticino, Switzerland: a shared continuity[1]

The trustworthy feeling of continuity can be expressed in architecture in many different ways. It also does not mean that everything has to be the same. You can acquire continuity by opposition as well (color, texture, shape,â&#x20AC;Ś).

[1]

http://www.virtualtourist.com, 31/05/2013 53


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Falling Water, Frank LLoyd Wright A continuity of nature and architecture.

Katsura Palace, Kyoto Japan A reciprocal relation between the mass of the palace and the void of the pond. Also in the first stage of our youth, we look for containment. For a child this is vital: feeling warm and protected. As we grow older we need this feeling less, but as children we look for it in cozy corners, overhanging bushes, etc. In architecture we also feel more drawn to spaces with boundaries than spaces that are very exposed.

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Piazza San Marco, Venice Containment

Government Center Plaza, Boston Exposure

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Around the age of two a child enters the next fase of growing up: autonomy. He starts to explore and faces conflicts. It is important that he gets control over his environment to boost self-confidence. If this does not happen, chances are the child will have lifelong feelings of discouragement and helplessness. In architecture we feel that proportions are one of the most important aspects. There is always a tension between part and whole, which we want to see in harmony. The Italian architect Andrea Palladio wrote The Four Books on Architecture based on this need. The authors call the third stage ‘Initiative and Industry’. At this age the child feels the longing to become a useful part of his family and society. Therefore he needs to learn a lot and looks for it in his surroundings. Therefore the environment has to be vivid and challenging. At a later stage the child grows his own identity and expects a place to correspond with this identity. The architecture has to be able to fulfill this period of experimentation. The last stages mentioned in this book are ‘intimacy’ and ‘generativity’ The young adult returns in a certain sense to the first stage. He seeks attachment to others and to be intimate with them. It is the age of the first love, but also when real friendships get formed. This search for intimacy in architecture is found in cozy corners, narrow streets and for example sitting around the fire place.

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MAGGIE'S ARCHITECTURAL BRIEF Maggie's cancer caring centers Maggie’s is an organization that believes in the influence of architecture on the health of people. In this brief they sum up some requirements to which new care centres will have to answer. They start off on a powerful note: “We expect the physical space to do a significant amount of our work for us.” A Maggie’s centre houses people that are going through a traumatic experience, for example cancer; therefore they need their buildings to feel safe and welcoming. However, they should not make the patients feel patronized by being too cozy. The main goal is that those people know they have a place to turn to, which is special in itself and makes them feel valued. This can give them the strength to build up their confidence and keep fighting. One of the clinical psychologists in Maggie’s, Glyn Jarvis, states: “Working from a Maggie’s Centre means that we can start a quantum leap ahead of talking to the same people in a hospital context because people have actively chosen to come in.” Maggie’s centres and the way they are designed increase the sense of connectedness between people: they are not alone in this situation. The brief asks architects to think about the human relationships and connections within the design, as it is a powerful tool to achieve results. Requirements for Maggie’s that are interesting for Barefoot Angels: •

Entrance: obvious, welcoming, not intimidating

A welcome/sitting/information/library area, from which the layout of the rest of the building should be clear. There should be as much light as possible.

Office space easily accessible from welcome area so that either person working at a desk can see somebody come into the Centre. Their space should be separate enough that the welcome area does not seem like an office or a reception area.

A large room for relaxation groups/lectures/meetings. A space sufficient to take a maximum of 14 people lying down.

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Smaller sitting/counseling room with a fireplace (cozy element) and big windows looking out over green elements. The idea of a continuous flow between house and garden space.

The relationship between inside and outside is very important. A house protects you from the outside. Equally the outside of a garden is a buffer to the real ‘outside’. It is a place where you can feel sheltered, but enjoy a bit of the kinder sides of nature.

The interior spaces should not be so open to the outside that people feel naked and unprotected. They should feel safe enough inside that they can look out and even go out if they wanted.

The building has to feel like a home people would not have quite dared build themselves, and which makes them feel that there is at least one positive aspect about their visit they may look forward to.

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THE SCHOOLS OF HERMAN HERTZBERGER Herman Hertzberger and Abram de Swaan Herman Hertzberger is a Dutch architect who is especially known for his school designs. In this book he describes forty of those educational facilities. Although the projects are all very different, Hertzberger claims that he uses the same philosophy time and time again. The archetype school building, with rows of classrooms and long corridors running along besides them, does not fulfill today’s standards anymore. A lot of useful space is lost and the classrooms feel cramped up. Hertzberger reacts on this problem by eliminating corridors altogether. Instead he chooses open spaces with corner areas, which makes the space suitable for communal use by diverse groups of pupils, as well as smaller classes. Despite the open floor plans, there is always an equilibrium in his designs. He articulates the space so as to create as many places as possible where people can work individually or in group, by fulfilling the necessary spatial conditions. He achieves this idea by using all kinds of architectural resources: from full-height or half-height walls, to steps, storey’s and elevated areas. Hertzberger calls them ‘spatial units’. The danger with spatial units is when they have many different characters, you might end up with a defragmented design, which would contradict the initial hope of cooperation and shared facilities. Therefore, the architect makes sure there is always a strong spatial theme that can serve as a binding force. But even when a design appears to succeed in creating a cohesive space from the outside, the space will not necessarily function as such. Hertzberger gives the example of schools with different entrances for each section. These different spaces will inevitably drift apart. Only with a communal entrance and an interior square or street from which people have access to the different units, each of which can be closed off, can a collective space be created that expresses the sense of a community. One of the main ideas behind every project of Hertzberger is seeing the school as a city. Actually, it is a natural association that arises from the spatial theme that can be compared to a system of streets and squares. The combination of open, shared spaces and closed-off, exclusive ones inevitably recalls the public/private gradient within the urban context. 60


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The architect expresses this principle within buildings. High spaces with light entering from above easily evoke a sense of community and public access, in contrast with a single storey height. From this public space, the different domains show off their identity, so that it gives a clear sense of direction for the pupils. It kind of reminds of a shopping street. Although the first philosophy of Hertzberger is to keep a more open and adjustable floor plan, he also states how important it is that boundaries stay boundaries. Often you see them become blurred, creating spaces that flow into each other, but they mostly fail. In these cases there are no clear identities anymore and nothing has its own place. In this situation people too will be left without a place they can call their own. â&#x20AC;&#x153;It is not just buildings that need structure, people too need a structured environment, in which each person can feel at home. You need a home base to which you can always return, and from which you can venture out to explore the world.â&#x20AC;?

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The Australian Opan and Fossil Centre, Lightning Ridge14

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GLENN MURCUTT thinking drawing/working drawing Maryam Gusheh, Tom Heneghan, Catherine Lassen, Shoko Seyama Glenn Murcutt is an Australian architect with an office in Sydney. Although his practice is quite small and he only built within Australia, his work is globally appreciated. In 2002 he was rewarded with the Pritzker Prize, one of the highest distinctions in architecture13. This books shows his method of designing which is drawing diagrams, perspective sketches and material details at the same time, from the very beginning of a project. Plans are frequently explored as maps of interchangeable functional relationships. These are developed in parallel with structural and construction ideas. Form always follows function for Murcutt and the interesting facades are the result of great detailing. This method of working fits with the needs of the Barefoot Angels program. A low budget is key in this design, so the building should mostly be modular. To make it interesting for the children, detailing is crucial, especially when working with adobe and traditional building methods. How will the design bring more value?

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RURAL STUDIO Samuel Mockbee and an architecture of decency The architecture students at Auburn University's Rural Studio, co-founded by Samuel Mockbee in 1993, design and build striking houses and community buildings for impoverished residents of Alabama. Using salvaged lumber and bricks, discarded tires, hay and waste cardboard bales, concrete rubble and colored bottles, they create inexpensive buildings in a style Mockbee describes as "contemporary modernism grounded in Southern culture."

"I tell my students, it's got to be warm, dry and noble" ~Samuel Mockbee

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Mason's Bend Community Center, Rural Studio, 200215

Mason's Bend is a typical Rural Studio design, with its rammed-earth walls and lumber from local cypress trees. To keep the budget low, they avoided glass panels by using recycled automobile windshields.

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House for dr. Bartholomeusz, Colombo, Sri Lanka, 1963 Geoffrey Bawa - early works

Pradeep Jayewardene House, Mirissa, Sri Lanka, 1998 Geoffrey Bawa - grand designs

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GEOFFREY BAWA Geoffrey Bawa was one of the most influential Asian architects. His designs are a harmonious and pleasurable fusion of local building traditions with modern forms and sensibility. He succeeded in translating climate needs and the properties of the site into modern architecture. The following quote can be related to the building habits in El Salvador and the preference of Western architecture:

"We have a marvellous tradition of building in this country that has got lost. It got lost because people followed outside influences over their own good instincts. They never built right "through" the landscape.. you must "run" with site; after all, you don't want to push nature out with the building."16 ~Geoffrey Bawa

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DESIGN PROCESS STAGE 1: FOCUS ON ATMOSPHERES For the children of Barefoot Angels the center is an escape from home and the city, from cramped spaces and the same atmosphere. Therefore Barefoot Angels should be able to offer the opposite. The open space is already there and should be treated with respect. The new building should offer a variety of different atmospheres, evoke different feelings and offer different spaces for each function. To keep an open site, the initial idea is to build along the walls and work with a sort of campus-style where the different functions are spread over the open space. This means that the children don’t have to stay in the same space all day long, but can travel from one ‘island’ to the other, something they can’t do in the city. Another advantage of this concept is that every function can be positioned on the best possible spot of the site. Each unique identity can be linked to the most corresponding atmosphere within the walls of Barefoot Angels. Be that as it may, for each possibility there are many pro's and con's. Only the placement of the office space seems very logical: central on the site, where the adjesent buildings create a narrowing between the two areas. This concept has many disadvantages. But the main issue is that such a layout feels too random and unorganized, while there definately is a need for an equilibrium7. This design has to be a counteraction for the children's hectic city life. The site calls out for organisation.

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STAGE 2: TWO ATMOSPHERES While working on the first concept it became clear that the more quiet or relaxed functions (library, arts and crafts, psychology class) were moved to the northern right corner of the site. Although, there runs a busy street behind that wall, the overall feeling in this area is more calm. Just then, I remembered how I felt during my visits at the site, but I never fully realized it before. The southern part of the site is very open and almost scorching hot. Yet, there were always many children playing football, thanks to the goalposts and no obstacles. They were yelling at the top of their lungs. The northern part of the site, although it has almost the same square meters, feels more cozy. Here stand some beautiful high trees, their trunks dividing the space and their canopies casting a refreshing shadow. At any moment, there were not as many children as on the open area. The ones playing here were more quiet, just sitting on the swing and talking. Two very different atmospheres, both unique within the city of Santa Ana. They should not only be treated with respect and kept as they are, but strengthened. Now, despite the shape of the site, they still flow into each other, and influence one another in a negative way. The best proof is that the two different characters did not really strike me until I was back in Belgium. The tranquility of the shade gets interrupted by the sheering on the football field, which actually has no clear borders. To strengthen both atmospheres, they should be separated by a border. In this concept, the different functions will be aligned along the walls and in between the two areas. To stay with the initial idea of placing each function on the most fitting part of the site, the ‘active’ ones will face the open field and the ‘calm’ ones the shaded part.

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It is an unfortunate truth that dignity and freedom of thought often depend on the proportions of a room, a delightful view out of a window, a certain measure of light and color; so that someone who spent his whole life in a kind of along boxes and one day enters a room with noble proportions might wonder how much he might have been missing, spiritually, just because of the chararcter of his living quarters. ~Christian Morgenstern, Steps, Psychological Issues,1906

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STAGE 3: INCORPORATING ORIGINAL STRUCTURE The new building breaks in the middle and connects with the existing structure. Connecting all the spaces is more interesting and the result will look like a uniform building. Another advantage is that no trees have to be cut in the 'calm area'. This green part, which is rare in the city of Santa Ana, is maintained as it is, but still strengthened by disconnecting it from the 'active area'. The location of the different functions are for the most part a logical sequence: •

The original structure stands in a 'dead corner' of the site. There is bad ventilation and the roof is not high enough for wind to pass under. Therefore, the two large rooms (now psychology class and library/office) will be storage space, where no comfortable conditions are required.

Linked to storage is the space for arts and crafts, so that all the materials to work with are close by. Also a wet space, to clean paintbrushes and tools is located here.

Next to that are the toilets, so that water supply does not have to be spread all over the site. Next to the arts and crafts space, the library is found. This space faces the trees.

• •

In the middle is an open space, only a canopy. It is right in front of the entrance, so here everyone can assemble and there is an overview over the site. Tables and seats can be placed here.

On the left is a stage. By placing it here, it can be used oriented to space under the canopy or towards the 'active area' for a larger event.

The stage flows into the playroom, so that it becomes a piece of furniture. This room can open up towards the football field, but also to the beautiful tree in the middle. Maybe a tree house can be build here for children to climb on.

On the far right of the site is the kitchen placed. With a new entrance it is easy to bring supplies into Barefoot Angels, but also to take trash outside. The cafeteria spreads around the tree.

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â&#x20AC;˘

On the first level, only two functions are located: the office that has an overview over the site, and the silent room (former psychology class) facing the 'calm area'. The latter has the characteristics of a safe house: high and dry, isolated and no one can look inside. It might be an option to replace this room, as the only function, in the middle of the green area.

While the organisation feels logical, the design of the relationship between every space is a long search. How do you walk through the building? What are the visual links? How does every space feel different? This is combined with the shape of the roof that has to ensure good ventilation, proper shade and has to give direction.

This method of working always results in a very fragmented looking building, with irregular shapes. To keep a low budget, the design should be more modular and straight forward. One gesture should solve everything (cfr. Geoffrey Bawa, Glenn Murcutt).

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STAGE 4: ONE GESTURE In order to make a design that is modular, low budget, in balance and contemporary, it is more interesting to make one single gesture, which solves all problems. This means one roof that ensures proper ventilation, shade, water winning and gives direction to the spaces underneath. This new proposal covers a smaller area than in the previous stages, because some functions are joined together into just open spaces. These spaces will have different characters and still face or the 'calm space" or the 'active' one. This way of working is more interesting as the users can fill in the use of the atmospheres themselves. Many of the different spaces in the previous stages of the design process already had very similar features and flowed into each other. This way of working ensures a better use of resources, but also leaves the precious open areas untouched as much as possible. The decision is made to tear down the original structure. The quality of the spaces are too low and so are the comfort levels. Using the rooms as storage space was not a real solution. By clearing this corner of the site, you get an extra area that does not really fit with the grove on the right; it does not feel like one entity. Therefore, the building should also be a boundary or border in between these two atmospheres. The feeling of the corner that can be strengthened is the one of protection: hidden in a corner, surrounded by walls. This is also what the original structure did: offering protection from the elements.

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The shape of this proposal is a result of two main spaces facing different directions. The southern part turns towards the football field, while the northern gives out to the trees. The structure is very modular and exists out of columns and trusses. In order to make it earthquake-safe, shear walls are added17. These walls connect different columns, making the whole structure rigid in both directions. They are called shear walls, because they are meant to absorb the seismic energy and potentially shear under the pressure, to ensure the stability of the main structure. In this proposal those walls are used to orient the two main spaces. With the wall in the back, the spaces open up towards the calm or active area. The wall also separates the hidden corner from the rest of the site. The layout of the plan: •

On the ground floor, the kitchen is placed in between the two spaces. There is always someone there that has an overview over this level. But the main reason is that the users can decide themselves where to eat.

At the end of the building, the storage and toilets are placed. This is the least interesting spot.

The northern shear wall can be used as a background for the theatre space, that is now placed in the corner area. By extending the ground level and maintaining the 50 cm level difference of the current building, a natural stage is formed. The corner becomes a proper space and the theatre gains importance.

On the first level, the office still has an overview over the site. The silent room is placed in the northern corner, where it almost touches a tree. This room will be completely closed off, except for that view over the green (cfr. Maggie's Architectural brief). In between the office and silent room the platform can be used as library. A lot of north-western light can enter the space here, while there is still a wide view over the eastern part of the site.

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STAGE 5: A GRADIENT OF BORDERS AND BOUNDARIES from open to closed, public to private

The shape of the building is once again extending from one side to the other. The space oriented towards the 'active area' uses the existing boundary of the neighbour's house as a backbone. The shear wall is no longer needed for giving direction. In this layout the entrance of Barefoot Angels is included into the design. This transition from the rough city life to the safety of the center is very important. It should be inviting, contradicting the image of a prison, but at the same time respect the traditional language for protection: walls, gates, fences, barbwire. This design is a border and a boundary between the different atmospheres on the site. However, by spreading it from the entrance and the active area to the calm area and the protection of the corner, a natural gradient is formed in the building: public to private, open to closed. By implementing this gradient, there is automatically a variety of different characters in the new building: from a canopy, to semi-closed spaces, to the feeling of complete isolation. These characters also correspond to the outdoor space they are facing. Making different atmospheres stronger, by using borders and boundaries; turning the negative into positive by using cultural elements.

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Ground level

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First level

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Rough sections

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Gradient: •

• • •

The children enter Barefoot Angels through the gates. The roof comes out from behind the walls, offering a shaded and dry area, but also making an inviting gesture. The high walls and barbwire around the center are not to keep the children in, but to profile as a safe haven. Once inside of the walls, the children immediately see the wide open space of the football field. This is immediately a relief from the suffocating spaces at home and in the market. This feeling does not have to be hidden any longer, as no one expects it looking from the street. The building starts here with only the necessary structure and a roof. Offering a shaded place for the children to play, but corresponding with the character of the open field: movement and action. The canopy ends in a sitting pit. This is a gathering place to which the entrance leads before the spaces start to close more. These steps form also a tribune for children exercising their speechcraft or close-up magic in the middle. Going up the steps, there is a transition point. Here there is a small gap between the neighbour's house and the new building, showing a glance of the shaded area. To go from one to the other, the children cross a border. The structure starts to close a little bit. The columns become adobe walls. This space stands in between the calm and active area. The building is a boundary, filtering movement and views. The further you go, the smaller the openings become. This section of the building ends with the kitchen. Again there is a transition. However, this time the building is really split in two. This is the transit from public and semi-public to private. This gap is inspired by the layout of typical properties in the area: facing the street is a shop, then open space where laundry is hanging to dry, at the end the privacy of the house. In this case the street is the canopy and the shop the space with the kitchen. The children descend to get to the third atmosphere of the building. The boundary gets more dense by narrowing the openings even more. This space lies between the calm area and the hidden corner. The character is private and safe. 89


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â&#x20AC;˘

Going up the staircase, the children arrive in an open space with a lot of diffuse light entering and a wide view towards the trees. This level is open, but still has the feeling of being high and dry. For that reason, the silent space should be located here.

Although the facades of the building will have different proporties to correspond with the necessary atmospheres, the design still has to be one entity. This can be solved by using the necessities of an adobe structure to our advantage. As discussed in the chapter 'local building traditions and materials', a ring beam is required on top of the adobe walls to tie them together. Only with this concrete beam, the building could withstand earthquakes. This element wraps around the design from entrance to end, and as it ties the walls together, so does it join the different spaces. To accentuate the beam, it will stick out of the adobe walls for 15 cm. This is in the same line of the buttresses, also necessary in seismic regions.

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STAGE 6: LOCAL LANGUAGE The previous proposal was all about working with the meaning of borders and boundaries. This concept created different atmospheres, while repeating the same things over and over again. A simple design with maximum result. While the ideas were there, the end result did not correspond completely yet. •

The steel structure was too heavy. These dimensions were necessary to keep the first floor open.

The open first floor was located in the part of the building that should be the most closed. A contradiction that had a huge impact on the entire structure.

The building was divided into two parts and stood in an angle. Although it followed the form of the site, the angle created a weird shaped space in between. Furthermore, the idea of the ring beam as a continuous connector was compromised. Drawing this beam in angle created problems for the steel structure and roof above.

How to communicate the different atmospheres more?

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Keep it simple. That is key for this design. First of all on the level of structure: adobe walls are the basis and a ring beam connects everything. The structure of the roof on top should be inexpensive and easy to construct. As mentioned in the chapter 'research on site', timber is hard to find in El Salvador and the production of larger steel structures is very marginal. An easy solution would be to use reinforcing steel. This material is easy to find as it is used in every new concrete building of El Salvador. Welding these bars together you can create a very light and inexpensive structure. Furthermore, this job can be done on site. A second way to keep this design simple is to make one straight line with the building. The 'active space' and 'calm space' are still divided, but the northern part of the building ends in the middle of the sunken space that is left by the original structure. However, this should not be considered a negative point, but rather an advantage! It is the most closed part of the building that stands in this corner. A space that feels protected by the surrounding walls. This is what the existing structure also gives: protection from the elements. By maintaining these walls the northern part of the design gets an extra layer of boundaries that safeguard the intimacy of the space inside. We can also profit from the lowering terrain and create a reasonable hight difference with the inside space. Now this room has already the main elements for a silent room (psychology class) as described in the 'research on site' chapter.

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Organisation (plan see pages 96-97): From the street Barefoot Angels is hidden behind high walls with multiple layers of barb wire on top. Although, this is part of the local culture, it is important to make a clear gesture that the program is very inviting for children. They are protected inside, but not kept inside! Therefore, a welcoming gesture is made by bringing the ring beam outside of the gate. The roof on top also continues. This community based project already starts in the public space. The children enter the site and immediately experience a rare openness. This is a great relief from the cramped up spaces at home and in the market. The ring beam creates a covered, but open space. The children are protected from the sun and occasional rain, but are not limited by any boundaries. The beam is only supported by reinforced adobe columns. The roof on top opens up towards the football field, confirming the open relationship. There are no boundaries between the canopy and the open 'active space', but the ring beam does create a sort of border: going underneath it is a transition from protected space to open field. The canopy ends at three steps, forming a border to the next space. On this platform, there is a small gap between the new building and the neighbour's property, creating a passage to the 'calm area'. Going from active to calm, the children have to cross a border: going up the steps and underneath the ring beams. This transition is important to strengthen both atmospheres.

Western elevation: public/private gradient 95


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In between the active and calm space, the adobe columns change into walls. Although this space still has a semi-open character, the border becomes stronger. The openings are filed with fencing. The use of these elements is new in the design process, but actually a logical choice. Although fences have a more negative connotation in our western culture, in El Salvador they are found everywhere. They give a feeling of protection. The fences that are used can open up in a sliding motion. The users can change the space from a border (open) to a boundary (closed fences), but in doing so also the atmosphere inside.

Example of an expanding barrier18 In this part of the building the roof opens up towards the trees, as the more protected character corresponds with the calm space. Another way to confirm this focus is by changing the steps of the west side to a slope on the east side. The transition is easier. At the end of this space the open kitchen, toilets and storage are located. The entrance of toilets and kitchen are seperated from the rest of the site thanks to the neighbour's wall and the placement of a water tank. These spaces have a more private character, so the adobe walls close more. In doing so, the fences are also pushed in more, and the gaps become smaller: repeating the gesture of the walls. Once again there is a transition between atmospheres. The children find a more private and protected space at the far end of the building. This transition is clarified 98


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by the seperation of the roof. The ring beam on the other hand is still continuing, connecting the structure, but also the spaces. Above all, the beam creates a border in going from one space to the other. This private space gets its character from the surrounding walls that are preserved from the original building. They form a protective layer, a boundary between private and semi-private. The character is also strenghtened by the height difference between inside and outside. The children feel high and dry. The adobe walls react on the situation and close even more. The space for the fences gets smaller and the gaps between the steel structure become smaller. The openings in the wall are still from floor to ring beam. This is done to create a space, but not a room. It is important to create the feeling of privacy and protection, without making associations with the children's environment at home!

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A key element of the design is a simple structure to keep the costs low. Using local materials is not only important for sustainable reasons, but they also show that traditional building methods are not 'poor'. Used in a contemporary way tradition can become even more interesting. This structure can be completely constructed on site: adobe walls, concrete ring beam and welded reinforcing steel. 101


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CONCLUSION In this master dissertation I investigated the environment around Barefoot Angels and found a complete new language of borders and boundaries. These imaginary or physical obstructions have a negative impact on the development of the children of Santa Ana. A fast gang life becomes interesting, but that is exactly what Barefoot Angels is trying to fight. They offer an open environment, a place for children to breathe, different atmospheres and characters. To strengthen these different spaces this design forms borders and boundaries in between them. This also enhances the covered spaces that are related to the different atmospheres. Borders and boundaries: turning the negative into a strength.

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BORDERS AND BOUNDARIES Vincent Van Impe

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BIBLIOGRAPHY 1. http://dictionary.cambridge.org/, 08/06/2013 2. FISDL: Fondo de Inversión Social para el Desarrollo Local, San Salvador, ES, 2008 3. Ordenanza reguladora del comercio en la via y los lugares publicos y los mercador perifericos, de la ciudad de Santa Ana, Departamento de Santa Ana, 2012 4. http://www.laprensagrafica.com/33-cuadras-sin-ventas-informales, 20/08/2012 5. Anthony Philipson and Ross Kemp, 'Ross Kemp on Gangs', Gangs in El Salvador, Sky 1, 2007 6. Frank Christopher, documentary: ‘In the Name of the People’, USA, 1985 7. Rotraut Walden, 'Schools of the Future, design proposals from architectural psychology', Hogrefe and Huber Publishers, Germany, 2009 8. M. Blondet, G. Villa Garcia, ‘Adobe Construction’, Catholic University of Peru, Peru, 2011 9. http://elsalvadorgvsu.blogspot.be/, 30/05/2013 10. Asociación Equipo Maíz, ‘La Casa de Adobe Sismorresistente’, El Salvador, 2011 11. Köppen Classification System, Wladimir Köppen, 1884 12. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Santa_Ana,_El_Salvador, 02/03/2013 13. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glenn_Murcutt 14. Maryam Gusheh, Tom Heneghan, Catherine Lassen, Shoko Seyama, 'Glenn Murcutt, thinking drawing/working drawing', TOTO Shuppan, Japan, 2008 15. Andrea Oppenheimer Dean and Timothy Hursley, 'Rural Studio, Samuel Mockbee and an architecture of decency', Princeton Architectural Press, New York, 2002 16. David Robson, 'Bawa, Geoffrey Bawa: the complete works', Thames & Hudson, United Kingdom, 2002 17. Wilfredo Carazas Aedo, Alba Rivero Olmos, 'Wattle & Daub, Anti-seismic construction handbook', CRATerre, France 18. www.menkrolluiken.nl, 10/06/2013

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Borders And Boundaries  

Reflection paper autonomous master dissertation

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