Earthquake-proof as an expression: The school of Alberto Kalach in El Higuerón

Alberto Kalach is one of the most famous Mexican architects. In his description of the school building in El Higuerón in the architecture magazine Arquine, the architect's anger is clearly noticeable. The school building was initially planned in the centre of Jojutla, right next to the site of the red chapel. After Kalach's design for the school had already been drawn up, the municipality of Jojutla decided to build a cheaper school building. Kalach did not give up. In the southern part of the town of Jojutla in El Higuerón, on the site of a school that collapsed during the earthquake, the new school building was finally completed.

The expression of the school building is similar to the other public buildings completed in Jojutla: it communicates strength and a great earthquake resistance. Massive coffered ceilings together with the large concrete arches form the supporting structure. Contrasts to the massiveness are created by large wooden doors and spiral-shaped elements made of red bricks.

The thirteen classrooms and the office area are located in the main volume. A second volume with a long ramp that winds around the building and gives it a visual character, provides space for the school canteen. The flowing circulation between the rooms and the generous roof areas as well as the uncomplicated transition between inside and outside is made possible by the constantly warm climate in Jojutla.

© LEARNING FROM MEXICO 2019 by Laure Nashed

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