Vallata High School

Vallata - Italy - Earthquake resistant schools
Client: U.S. Agency for International Development (AID)

The Vallata School was designed as a part of the earthquake relief program in Southern Italy, sponsored by the United States Agency for International Development. The school serves several communities in the region with students arriving by bus. The proposed design is organized along a primary east-west linear axis connecting the main access road on the top of a hill to the west with a secondary access road on the lower part of the hill. The east-west alignment was selected to provide a good solar orientation for the building, providing a long relatively narrow building which steps down the hill in four major building units. By using the slope to create the stepped
arrangement, the design avoids the feeling of a single long corridor which is common in single axis building schemes. Instead each of the three sections is treated as a semi independent two-story block of classrooms and atrium joined by stairs with entrances from the outside occurring at the breaks between each. An outdoor walkway along the outside of the building steps down at a different scale producing a more proportioned mediation of the level changes from the top court to the bottom entrance portico. At the top of the hill is a public entrance court surrounded by a loggia which serves as a formal entrance portico on the south where it engages a vehicular drop off road. The court opens onto a vista of the town and frames a view of its most prominent symbolic feature, a church on the hill to the south.
This project won a USA presidential award.