top of page



Pivadenco Rural School

Duque Motta & AA, MAPAA

Los Sauces, Chile

December 2019


Rodrigo Duque Motta, Cristián Larraín


Matias Madsen


Dirección de Educación Pública, Ministerio de Educación


Pablo Casals Aguirre


In this rural territory with a scattered population, the school is the center of community life and the space for integration. Then, we defined a common strategy for the four schools: we understand these buildings not only as an educational center but also as the social center of a territory. To promote this idea, all the programs for common use and recreation set out in the competition requirements, the dining room, the circulations, the access hall, and the covered patio were brought together in a single space. Thus, a hierarchical space was created, capable of ordering the other rooms of the school, linking with the outside world, but mainly conforming as a community space to host different educational and social activities. This main space also acts as a thermo regulator of the building in winter and summer, through 3 elements: i) north skylights with eaves that capture direct sunlight only in the winter ii) concrete walls as a thermal mass to collect and keep this solar heat and iii) a cross-ventilation system that allows to significantly lower the interior temperature in the summer.
Materially, the building seeks to build this spatial fluidity with an exposed structure made from the assembly of slender pieces of wood, which gives the perception of a ceiling that floats over the walls. This image recalls old productive warehouses of the region and their materials, complemented with metallic cladding, and local volcanic stone.


The Pivadenco School is part of the “Escuelas Rurales de la Araucanía” project, an initiative of the Ministry of Education that, through architectural competitions, proposed the development of 8 small schools in rural areas of this region. La Araucania is the poorest region in Chile, with a high percentage of Mapuche population, and an unresolved historical conflict . The development of the project coexisted with an upsurge of violence on this region. Also, with a great social movement in all the country that put the vindication of the native peoples as one of its main axes and a new constitution being written seeking to recognize their culture, and give them autonomy and reparation. We developed four schools, two in the Los Sauces district and two in the Melipeuco district, both territories in the center of the conflict with diverse communities that required schools with a special intercultural approach.


After overcoming the difficulties imposed by the pandemic, the school has been operating effectively for more than a year. We have observed a community that actively uses its spaces and has made the building its own, with a great commitment to its good maintenance and care. The main space become the center of school life and an important place for community bonding.

bottom of page