The Paco Candel school in L’Hospitalet wants to be a benchmark for the school of the future

The Department of Education presented this week new criteria for the construction of educational centersa guide that updates the guidelines in force until now to adapt them to the new learning methodologies and that, as a mandatory requirement, implies the educative community (teachers, families and municipalities) in the school design. The Paco Candel School from L’Hospitalet de Llobregatwho has been in barracks for 10 years, has gone ahead of the guide and has produced a construction project of your new building you want to be referent and model to follow in Catalonia.

Not surprisingly, Paco Candel was one of the pilot schools of the Nova School project 21, which promoted the competency-based learning model. “We believe in pedagogical innovation and we wanted a school with these characteristics”, explains Christian Gilrepresentative of the AFA from the center. Because this center is also a pioneer in the active involvement of families in the day to day school. They have participated from minute zero –started five years ago– in the design of the new building, one of the requirements that Educació now asks for future constructions. “We ask the town hall to be able to participate and they said yes. They told the architects that our opinion was relevant, and so it has been,” says Gil, who proudly points out that “it will be the first school built with the involvement of families and with pedagogical innovation criteria.”

Thus, they participated in the specifications of the contest and the three finalist projects, of the 47 architecture studios that participated, were to their liking. The winner was Comas Pont Architects. Gil appreciates that they have listened to them. “We explained our needs and doubts to them and they gave us solutions. We proposed improvements. They have let us be protagonists,” he says.

Open and sustainable building

The new school will be a two-story building with natural light in all spaces and forest attached. It will be sustainable, so it will have solar panels, rainwater harvesting and the facade will be ceramics, which will improve the air conditioning. It will be oriented to make the most of the hours of sunshine. And the basic materials will be glass and wood. No cement or aluminum.

At Candel, work by skills is “constant”, both in the classrooms and in the corridors. “So it was important to have a networked schoolthat all the spaces were well connected because the children circulate freely, they are empowered”, explains Gil. The classrooms will be open and will have a runway exterior that can be part of the classroom and that, in turn, will shade the lower floor. Within the framework of the philosophy that any space can be a classroom, the corridors are wide and well lit.

Green is very present in the project, both inside the building, with 3 patios with vegetation, and outside. the traditional yard It will be a full-fledged forest here. There will be a paved track, “but without a basket or goals”, and it will not occupy the central space. There you can play ‘xarranca’ or chess or skate. “We flee from soccer-centrism,” Gil points out. The venue will have a pavilion for sports and cultural activities. The pavilion, the kitchen (“professional”) and the premises of the AFA have independent accesses at street level. “We would like this model to be replicable throughout Catalonia,” says Gil, who defends that “it will be the best possible school but without luxuries.”


The ‘but’ of this project is that will exceed the price framework of 6 million euros that Educació has set to build primary schools. Although there is still no definitive budget, it is estimated that it could end up costing between 7 and 8 million euros. “It is a sustainable building and this implies conditions that make construction more expensive”, argues the Councilor for Education of L’Hospitalet, David Quiroswhich ensures that this investment will be amortized quickly because it will reduce electricity, water and heating costs, bills that take away the monthly budget assigned to schools.

And the cost of materials due to the war in Ukraine is not included in the amount. “This may also have an impact,” regrets Quirós, who is confident that the war will be resolved soon and prices can return to normal.

From the AFA, more vindictive, they remember that since 2017 the Generalitat does not vary the prices for constructions. “Educació talks about pedagogical innovation and that this has to have a translation in architecture. If you believe in that, you have to increase the construction budget and dedicate more investment”, defends Gil.

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Quirós is satisfied that this center can be a model for future buildings. “Being a reference is important, and more so in the field of education. In the new learning models, space is an indispensable part. The environment is an educational field,” he underlines. He warns that it is necessary to ensure that participatory processes such as this are well managed and do not drag on over time. “Everything is not fair, that is why it is important that Educació watches over time and that the proposals respond to regulations”, he points out.

The construction of the new Paco Candel is pending the delivery of the executive project, in which the final price of the work will be stated, and the signing of an agreement between Educació and the City Council of L’Hospitalet by which the consistory will advance the money to carry out the work and the Department will return it in future years. Quirós appreciates that, after some tug-of-war, there is “good disposition” on the part of the ‘conselleria’.

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