The fourth in the series of documentaries featuring the winning projects from the 2012 SEED Awards, this SEEDocs episode highlights the work of a collaborative from the University of Washington and Architects Without Borders - Seattle along with local partners in Lima, Peru to develop the Ecological and Healthy Schools Initiative and the Pitagoras School Park.
Location: Lomas de Zapallal, Lima, Peru
Project Description: The Ecological and Healthy School Initiative encompasses the design and construction of the Pitagoras School Park and of a new classroom building with 10 modular classrooms. Both designs incorporate numerous sustainable building strategies including the use of locally sourced materials, a grey water filtration system, and a clay pot drip irrigation system used historically by the Incas.
Specific Issues addressed:
- Induced collaboration among students, parents, teachers, administrators, and other community members during the design and building workshops and charettes.
- Introduced University of Washington students to the concepts of community-based design activism.
- Addressed substandard educational facilities and services by building new classroom spaces.
- Created green space including gardens, playground, and public gathering spaces.
- Productive tree species planted in the park teach students the value of forest products and could serve as the foundation for urban agroforestry industries.
- On the job training for parents who participated in the construction of the park by hired local craftspeople and contractors .
- Design employs locally mined stone called "piedra de laja" and other locally sourced building materials.
- Addressed chronic unemployment by establishing new centers for vocational and higher learning.
- Worm composting and vegetable gardening workshops could serve as the foundation for local urban farming and food production industries.
- Native, drought tolerant trees included in the park's design teach students about local ecosystems and could serve as the foundation for reforestation efforts.
- The park's trees and plants trap pollutants and dust to improve air quality. Lima's air quality is amongst the worst in South America.
- The park's drip gray water irrigation systems promote water conservation and wastewater recycling while acknowledging Lima's looming water crisis.
In their own words from the SEEDoc:
Living in the middle of the dessert, the plants became a symbol of change.
- Coco Alarcon, NIH's Fogarty International Clinical Research Scholar
The impact was huge on the students, teachers and parents... the change in the student's attitudes has been very obvious as they feel happier and want to study more.
- Mario Lopez Antezana, Director of Pitagoras School
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