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CollaboratorRICARD PAU






Arimunani School, Learning on a Patio

A hopeful pedagogical project that is gathered around a big tall communal patio. The first phase of this new school was to plant the trees that would shelter it from the strong Mediterranean sun. The school’s structure is also made out of trees that grew and were cut and transformed in the Basque Country. This is the first school in Mallorca made totally with trees.


39°38’06.4″N 2°42’09.8″E Mallorca, as most Mediterranean islands, no matter how much humans try to destroy them, is a very resilient haven. Its natural ports and orography give countless inhabitable places. Traditions and crafts have not totally vanished yet there. The XXth century brought an invasion of infrastructure devoted to the tourism business. Somehow, a significant tissue of local traditions, craftsmanship and strong landscapes have been stubborn enough to make it until today.


A small group of teachers decided to start a new school, a pedagogical project based on building together a more collaborative, empathic and ecological future. They started in a house in the country, and then they needed more space.


They found a site in the outskirts of Marratxí, a big town 14 kms northeast of Palma, the island’s capital. It is a long flat empty plot, surrounded by suburban single-family houses, with a north-west south-east orientation. On its north-western end there is a rectangular arrangement of trees. They started by installing some temporary modular rooms.

The old country house where the school was founded.

Trees by the site.

The school moved into temporary barracks that will be slowly substituted by the new building.

As an urgent means to be able to continue their operations, the school was temporarily gathered in prefabricated barracks.


Which spatial organisation can better promote the ideas and feelings that the school wants to nurture, so that the building itself is an example of these? How can this be built in several phases so that it is economically viable?


The new school is organised around an open patio and in two floors, to optimise its site footprint and create a sheltered microweather that cools the school down in the increasingly hot spring, summer and autumn months. An open porch on both floors works as both an informal place of intercourse between kids of different ages, and as a thermal regulator, with transparent shutters that can be opened or closed according to daily needs.

First phase. Spring 2020.

First phase. Spring 2020.

First phase. Spring 2020.

First phase. Spring 2020.

First phase. Spring 2020.

First phase. Spring 2020.

First phase. Spring 2020.

Long-term plan.

Long-term plan.

Long-term plan.

Once the main plan was laid out, the first stage was planting the trees way ahead, so they have enough time to grow while the school’s several phases are built each summer:

Trees are the main architecture of the place.

An offsite timber building system is developed for easy and fast assembly, durability, optimal energy performance, seamless joints of the different phases, and to allow improvements and iterations in the future.






The first phase structure was finished right before the COVID-19 hit the island. It was assembled in two weeks.


José Hevia. March 2021.


Search questions

As a consequence of our search as architects, we also produce understanding and knowledge made of words -written and spoken. This search revolves around twelve constant themes, questions we don’t have a definitive answer to yet. This knowledge is not just a by-product of our activity, but rather an instrumental part that develops simultaneously and is imbricated in building. Search Questions is our sisyphean effort to organize and share this knowledge while it's blossoming, fragile and unstable. By doing so, a more specific understanding, and more refined questions emerge.

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