Environmental Design Consultancy

Foreign Colonies Industrial School, Copiapó (2013)
Total area: 13,128 m²
Architects: Lateral Arquitectos
Studies developed as part of Estudio Diav.

This industrial school is located in the northern Chile, in the city of Copiapó. Local climate possesses harsh and abrupt conditions, with very dry atmosphere, strong solar radiation, and high diurnal variations. Architects had a mind of using local materials -inspired by vernacular constructions- that would deal with these issues and provide comfort for the students. There'd be no HVAC systems installed.


The complex includes classroom buildings on the perimeter of a large rectangular area. While most buildings would be covered by a layer of cored bricks with a particular checkered pattern, attractive for the resulting texture, we proposed this layer be separated a considerable distance from the main heavy weight structure. This generated corridors on each sides of the buildings, which would serve as intermediate and circulation spaces, as well as provide radiation control.


Several passive strategies were proposed and included into the design, for all classroom and workshops. We simulated and tested these strategies for fine-tuning. They included: design of second skin of the building envelope, daylighting analysis, resulting thermal comfort evaluation, and energy and thermal mass application studies.


For other buildings of considerable lower density of occupation, housing programs such as offices and administration, measures similar to those of the classrooms were taken, with an additional inclusion of HVAC systems performance evaluation.


Additionally, we defined requirements for renewable energy systems such as DHW and PV systems.