‘Educan’ is a multi-species school made of colourful shipping containers in Spain

A variety of materials and construction techniques have created this training centre, designed by architects Enrique Espinosa and Lys Villalba for ‘dogs, humans, and other species.’

by Jerry ElengicalPublished on : Jan 12, 2022

Building with reused shipping containers is a method that has firmly cemented itself as an efficient, convenient, and somewhat eco-friendly means to provide shelter and housing in recent years. The trend, sometimes referred to as 'cargotecture', has been at the forefront of upcycled design and adaptive reuse architecture for some years now, and rampant innovation in the use of this flexible building block has seen the scope of its utilisation extend far beyond what we once knew. Structures such as mid-rise social housing projects, offices, private residences, or even large sporting venues such as Stadium 974 in Qatar, are now tangible realities in the domain of shipping container architecture. Located 30 kilometres west of Spain’s capital, Madrid, 'Educan' - described as a 'school for dogs, humans, and other species', takes this construction medium into the new typologies of educational and institutional architecture, with a vividly colourful design meant to excite and spark a desire for exploration.

  • View of the façade at night | Educan. School for dogs, humans and other species | Enrique Espinosa and Lys Villalba | STIRworld
    View of the façade at night Image: Javier de Paz García
  • The structure is composed of reused shipping containers and rippling concrete | Educan. School for dogs, humans and other species | Enrique Espinosa and Lys Villalba | STIRworld
    The structure is composed of reused shipping containers and rippling concrete Image: Javier de Paz García

Designed by Spanish architects Enrique Espinosa, Director of Eeestudio, and Lys Villalba, Co-Founder of Zoohaus collective, ‘Educan’ caters to species of all sizes and persuasions, primarily functioning as a training centre. The duo was prompted to undertake the project as an experiment to recover the biodiversity and ecosystem quality of a once rural agricultural area that has now been overtaken by the ills of urban development and pesticide-heavy cultivation. Featuring a trapezoidal layout enclosed in a hybrid envelope composed of green shipping container sections and in-situ concrete exhibiting the same rippling corrugation seen in the containers themselves.

  • The rear façade features a system of louvered shutters that screen excess sunlight | Educan. School for dogs, humans and other species | Enrique Espinosa and Lys Villalba | STIRworld
    The rear façade features a system of louvered shutters that screen excess sunlight Image: José Hevia
  • The shutters also allow dogs to enter and exit as they please | Educan. School for dogs, humans and other species | Enrique Espinosa and Lys Villalba | STIRworld
    The shutters also allow dogs to enter and exit as they please Image: José Hevia
  • A rainwater harvesting trough doubles as a drinking fountain for dogs as well as birds nesting in the upper sections of the structure | Enrique Espinosa and Lys Villalba | STIRworld
    A rainwater harvesting trough doubles as a drinking fountain for dogs as well as birds nesting in the upper sections of the structure Image: José Hevia

Hosting a 50 sqm classroom, a 200 sqm training space, along with a kitchen and bathrooms, the complex has been described by the architects as a ‘multi-species design'. Under this archetype, the spaces on the ground are mainly dedicated to pairs of dogs and humans practising agility training exercises or games as small birds and bats nest in the upper nooks of the structure, as well as the lettering on the front façade design. As shared by the architects in an official statement, “Non-humans are at the centre of the design. The floors, usually designed for people and their shoes, are adapted to the pads and joints of canine paws: the training classrooms use removable rolls of PTE-based synthetic turf approved for canine training, while theory classrooms are finished in a semi-polished, exposed concrete aggregate made from river pebbles.”

  • Floors in the main space have been designed for canine paws while classrooms are finished in a semi-polished exposed concrete aggregate | Enrique Espinosa and Lys Villalba | STIRworld
    Floors in the main space have been designed for canine paws while classrooms are finished in a semi-polished exposed concrete aggregate Image: José Hevia
  • Sliding doors help divide the space | Enrique Espinosa and Lys Villalba | STIRworld
    Sliding doors help divide the space Image: José Hevia

Educan was assembled using a diverse assortment of materials and construction techniques ranging from standardised 40 ft HC containers to handcrafted custom ironwork joints, and CNC cut laminated timber joints. The architects complemented the adaptability and lightweight properties of the shipping containers with the thermal mass of the undulating cast in-situ concrete architecture, augmented by both mechanical and passive climate control methods - the latter consisting of perforated shutters, large sliding doors, and roller blinds. This has resulted in an expressive ensemble of colour and texture, replete with rhythmic corrugation and diamond-patterned surfaces.

  • Surfaces painted in vibrant colours impart an air of playfulness to the interior design | Enrique Espinosa and Lys Villalba | STIRworld
    Surfaces painted in vibrant colours impart an air of playfulness to the interior design Image: José Hevia
  • Bespoke furniture designs also contribute to the unique aesthetic of the space | Enrique Espinosa and Lys Villalba | STIRworld
    Bespoke furniture designs also contribute to the unique aesthetic of the space Image: José Hevia
  • Windows have been placed at heights above one metre to prevent them from distracting canine users | Enrique Espinosa and Lys Villalba | STIRworld
    Windows have been placed at heights above one metre to prevent them from distracting canine users Image: José Hevia

The interior design also features openings that have been raised to heights over one metre to cut off distracting sightlines to the outside world for its canine users. Sound absorbing pyramid foam insulation has been used to clad internal surfaces, to mitigate the potentially debilitating effects of excess echoes and reverberation in the metallic enclosure. The south façade is screened by a system of louvered shutters, hung from the exterior edifice, which leave just enough space for dogs to embark outside towards a rainwater harvesting trough placed for them to quench their post-training thirst alongside the space’s avian residents.

  • Floor Plan | Enrique Espinosa and Lys Villalba | STIRworld
    Floor Plan Image: Courtesy of Enrique Espinosa and Lys Villalba
  • Longitudinal Section | Enrique Espinosa and Lys Villalba | STIRworld
    Longitudinal Section Image: Courtesy of Enrique Espinosa and Lys Villalba
  • Transverse Section | Enrique Espinosa and Lys Villalba | STIRworld
    Transverse Section Image: Courtesy of Enrique Espinosa and Lys Villalba

In order to contrast the warehouse-style aesthetic of the shipping containers and structural trusses, the designers introduced bright green, orange, and yellow surfaces to add a sense of playfulness to the interior ambience. Bespoke furniture designs, such as a fixed bench with a smooth serrated edge alongside other elements and training equipment transform the space into one meant to inspire exploration and curiosity. These inclusions in many ways elevate the atmosphere from a gloomy industrial setting to one of levity and vibrancy, enticing the unbridled curiosity of its unassuming occupants.

  • Construction Details | Enrique Espinosa and Lys Villalba | STIRworld
    Construction Details Image: Courtesy of Enrique Espinosa and Lys Villalba
  • Diagram of Material Ecosystem | Enrique Espinosa and Lys Villalba | STIRworld
    Diagram of Material Ecosystem Image: Courtesy of Enrique Espinosa and Lys Villalba

Project Details

Name: Educan. School for dogs, humans and other species
Location: Brunete, Madrid, Spain
Client: Adiestramiento Educan
Area: 300 sqm
Year of Completion: 2020
Architects: Enrique Espinosa (Eeestudio) & Lys Villalba.
Construction: Servicios Integrales Alji / Construcciones Metálicas Miguel Torrejón
Building Engineer: Javier Reñones Marín
Structural Engineers: Mecanismo
Building Services: Alberto Espinosa
Technical Consultant: Jorge López Hidalgo
Collaborators:  Maria Paola Marciano e Irene Domínguez

Comments

Comments Added Successfully!

About Author

Recommended

LOAD MORE
see more articles
2780,2836,2998,3044,2814

Keep it stirring

get regular updates SIGN UP

This site uses cookies to offer you an improved and personalised experience. If you continue to browse, we will assume your consent for the same.
LEARN MORE AGREE