top of page



Colegio San Pablo

Danza - Cotignola - Staricco Arquitectos

Montevideo, Montevideo, Uruguay

September 2021


Marcelo Danza (Director), Marcelo Staricco (Director)



Fundación Educacional Concordia


Marcos Guiponi


An old industrial plant dedicated to the manufacture of watches is converted into a secondary school in the traditional garden neighborhood “El Prado”. The existing physical plan, with a triple bay, easily became a central atrium and classrooms of excellent size, proportion and orientation for classrooms.

The main project decisions were:

1) Emptying. Through the demolition of all the existing enclosures and light mezzanines, the interior is reconfigured into a series of classrooms according to the structural module of 8 x 8 m.

2) Expansion. Two new modules are built, adjacent to the existing floor, to house the library and computer rooms, which due to their proportions and size had to have open floors with a larger surface area.

3) Image. In order to provide a powerful image and in line with the new program, a white micro-perforated sheet metal cladding was designed that also allows the necessary solar control of the north façade. A red metal staircase, of generous dimensions, runs along the façade from the ground floor to the roof to allow students to enter the recreation space on the roof of the building.

4) Patio in height. Due to the high occupancy of the property, a 1,300 m2 recreation patio is proposed on the roof of the classroom. Due to the small dimensions of the lot, this patio could not be at ground level.


The San Pablo School is located in a traditional garden neighborhood of the capital. However, the Prado is an aging neighborhood. Young couples are choosing to move to more central locations close to services and their jobs. An emptying process occurred. The authorities have decided to reverse this situation through subsidies to educational and cultural centers. The San Pablo school is part of this process.
As part of the building update of the neighborhood begun in recent years, two existing buildings were transformed into lecture buildings.
Although the two buildings are located a few hundred meters from each other, they both have complementary facilities that are part of the students' daily lives, so they function organically (the playground, the dining room, the library, etc).
In order to achieve a strong institutional identity, the two buildings share a series of architectural elements that make them recognizable despite the distance.
The school's common spaces are for private public use at certain times of the day. This makes the building open to the neighborhood in the afternoons.


The changes that the project introduced in the school and the neighborhood are the following:

One of the school buildings was an old watch factory. The building was abandoned in the 90s. It had become an occupied and dangerous structure for the neighborhood and its neighbors. The conversion of this structure into a school became a radical change for the urban environment and the quality of life of the people.

The school did not have a playground. There was no space in the lot. The rooftop as a playground for students was a radical change in everyday life. It is also used in festivals and student graduations.

The staircase became an identifying element of the school. The students, authorities and residents of the neighborhood appropriated his image. An unexpected success.

El Prado is an aging neighborhood. The authorities want to attract young people to the neighborhood. The school has functioned as an attractor for young couples with their children. Today a new residential building has been built on the adjacent lot. Other new ventures have begun to set up shop.

bottom of page