LOCATION Sannicandro Gargano, Foggia, Italy
ANNO 1987
THEME Architecture, Education spaces, Educational complex
STATUS Project
DESIGNERS Antonio Monestiroli
TEAM  Carlo Moccia, Mario Nardella, Ferdinando Pedone

The theme is that of schools. A theme of great importance that has not led (despite the application of many in recent years) to a typological definition that has its own stability. The theme of the school should be understood in the more general sense of a collective place where a community becomes aware of itself and the world around it. If this is the meaning, the most appropriate type to represent it should be sought. In the specific case of Sannicandro we are talking about two high schools: a classical high school and an art school intended for the students of the surrounding area. The plot, chosen by the administration for the construction of the new school complex, consists of a large piece of land in the Gargano countryside a short distance from the town of Sannicandro, sandwiched between the state road and the hills to the north. The geography of the place, together with the proper character of this institution, suggested the courtyard type in one of many possible variations.

The two schools, the classical high school and the art school, are arranged in two parallel bodies that define a space divided into three successive courtyards: the first, small, open to the access road; the second, larger, is the actual school courtyard; and the third, at a higher elevation, is intended for the outdoor activities of the gymnasium. These are in communication with each other via a wide side pathway that allows the entire building to be crossed. This path is the axis along which the school makes explicit its distribution according to a hierarchy of places that reveal its more general sense. The three courts are bordered by two transverse bodies, the gymnasium and a staircase, a place for observing the activities that take place in the central court. It is clear that this is the actual court of the school. It is also the only one relatively enclosed around a rectangular lawn. The buildings facing this courtyard are two stories high and have porches. The porches allow for an indoor walk around the perimeter of the lawn, marking its boundary and emphasizing its value. Climbing the staircase flanking the gymnasium building leads to the high court, bounded by the gymnasium itself, the two school buildings and, to the north, the cultivated hillside. The difference in height within the gymnasium is bridged by a wooden staircase that prospects, at a great distance, with the similar brick staircase located at the other end of the lawn. The typological hypothesis suggests the construction solution, the choice of materials and the formal solution of the whole building. The school is constructed of iron. The interior fronts are defined by the double-height porch and a continuous wall of iron and glass. This choice is related to the value attached to the courtyard, to the decision that all places in the school should have a visual relationship with the central lawn. Inside, toward the countryside, the building is enclosed by a windowed wall built of exposed brick. The elevated courtyard, open toward the hill, is defined by three exposed brick fronts in which a series of French doors open. The same exposed bricks will be used for the construction of the outdoor steps, the staircase to the upper court, and the paving of the entire school around the lawn. To emphasize the importance of the gymnasium, its roof will be made of six 2-m-high extrados metal beams. The gymnasium is a large classroom overlooking the lawn with a front that is a continuation of the front of the side bodies. The only distinguishing element is the roof. Inside the building bodies, the school is organized according to the usual pattern of classrooms aligned along a corridor containing services interspersed with resting places. The classrooms, located on the second floor, overlook an iron balcony from which they face the central lawn. On the ground floor, laboratories and collective classrooms are in direct relation to it. Everything concurs to define the typological choice that we consider the priority choice of the project. The general sense of the school is entrusted to the meadow on which all parts prospect. With the hope that this place can evoke the collective destiny of the building.


Massimo Ferrari (edit by) Antonio Monestiroli Opere, progetti e studi di architettura Electa Milan 2001

Francesco Moschini (edit by) Antonio Monestiroli Progetti 1967-1987
Edizioni Kappa Rome 1988