Located 20 kilometers to the north of the municipality of Uribia, in Colombia’s La Guajira department, this school for the indigenous Wayuu community is immersed in a desert landscape. The project seeks to reflect the pillars of the organization behind it, Fundación Proyecto Guajira: education, development, and basic social assistance.
Earth is used, as in Wayuu building tradition, but in a different way, with blocks of compressed earth. The folding ceiling evokes the mountains that rise in the middle of the desert, which have connotations in Wayuu cosmology. The texture formed by the gradua on the walls of the main hall is a reinterpretation of the pattern visible in vernacular constructions when the passage of time reveals the internal skeleton of the bajareque, a wall of sticks interwoven with canes and mud.
The flexibility of the space, with modules that open and close, makes it possible to fit in a multipurpose space, classrooms, a library, a kitchen, and a lunch room. In accordance with uses, the colored windows drop from the gradua walls to become desks to study on or tables to eat at.
The building is positioned in such a way that the sun does not shine directly into the rooms. The openwork of the partitions filters strong winds. The blocks of rammed earth act as catalysts of indoor temperature: during the day, they gradually expel the cold captured at night.