CEMEX Building Award Mexico Series: The great challenge of building for the little ones - CEMEX Building Award Mexico Series: The great challenge of building for the little ones
CEMEX Building Award Mexico Series: The great challenge of building for the little ones
April 10, 2015
The CEMEX Building Award is an initiative created and organized by CEMEX for the purpose of distinguishing the best in architecture and construction around the world. Each year, CEMEX has distinguished the best construction projects and all those people who have made these possible: architects, engineers, investors, and constructors. In this series, we recognize the winners of the 2014 Mexico edition.
Building a school for preschoolers is a giant challenge which goes beyond playing with scales. The challenge is to design a space that fits the children's playful inclinations, says architect Benjamin Romano.
“What better place for the child's first contact with formal education, than a fun setting where creativity can flourish,” he adds.
Romano speaks from experience after being at the helm of the Mount Sinai Kindergarten architectural project, which won the third place in the Category of Educational and Cultural Buildings in the 23rd. edition of the CEMEX Mexico Building Awards.
"In one way or another, institutions that are not well and thoroughly thought out, limit the creativity of children. For me that was the main lesson learned and the greatest challenge: to manage to maintain the children's creativity," he explains.
Seventeen individual cubic shaped modules were placed at three levels: the classrooms have precast concrete walls, to prevent distractions from the outside, while the other rooms, such as the music room and the library, have colorful glass walls. Terraces, indoor courtyards and gardens comprise the green factor included in the volumetric set of the school.
Romano says that for him, concrete is like liquid rock: it can be molded, shaped and set at will, and it has the great advantage of longevity. He is, however, convinced that it should be combined with warmer materials, such as wood, carpeting and fabrics, as he has done in this kindergarten. "The presence of wood is very strong in the classrooms for this reason, because we wanted to make it warm," he says.
The kindergarten was built on top of a rest area belonging to the school, where children and parents move about throughout the day. It was necessary to use light material, so a CEMEX glass-reinforced concrete was chosen.
Julieta Boy, jointly Responsible for the Project together with Romano, mentioned that there is a wide variety of products related to concrete, highlighting the importance of having an expert to rely on for guidance. "CEMEX was chosen because, in addition to providing technical advice, they support you all along during the construction process. They are always mindful of what is going on and so that was one of the reasons we selected them," she said.
The two architects decided to enter the project into the competition to demonstrate how concrete can encourage creativity in children, in a school setting.
"Of course we were very proud (to win) because there are many, great quality works that enter the competition every year", she says.
The 200 students who spend half of their day at the Mount Sinai Kindergarten may not know it, but these facilities have painstakingly sought to harbor and protect the greatest asset and capital of their tender age: their imagination.
CEMEX is a global building materials company that provides high quality products and reliable service to customers and communities in more than 50 countries. CEMEX has a rich history of improving the well-being of those it serves through innovative building solutions, efficiency advancements, and efforts to promote a sustainable future.