The initiative of an artist to invite children from the area to visit her atelier arose with the intention of approaching people from distinct parts of society through learning, acquaintanceship and leisure.
The generosity invested in this experience resulted in the growth of the number of people involved, and in a short time space became limited. And so on the land next to the atelier was constructed the new Acaia Institute school.
A long masonry volume accommodates the workshop spaces, dressing rooms, kitchen and small administrative area. A timber structure covers the space adjacent to the block and extends over it, allowing for the installation of a library between the two structures.
Today, Acaia receives almost 100 children during the day and their mothers in the evening. They are involved in activities such as joinery, sewing, weaving, theater, video, music, capoeira and dance.
The project for the new school maintains the idea of a covered outdoor area as the principle space, which looks to preserve the unadorned character of the old spaces. This is a working and meeting space that provides an environment that can support the children’s learning, playing and celebrating.
“The case of this architecture project which I accompanied is a project for a species of multiple atelier frequented by children from a destitute community. I see the roots leaving form all sides: in the smiles that feel looked after and respected, in the calm that library provides, in the tranquil peeling of potatoes that the kitchen, now illuminated, allows. On the patio that makes the children dress-up, run and dance. Because these children are there to be all they can be, to experiment many ways of being.
This is only possible in a space that denounces giving up the care that orienteers give from day to day to the children, and what you see today is the care that the architects constructed.
I do not know how many times, during the making of this project, this care was told in the children’s stories, but it doesn’t matter, because its visible in the dance, in the instruments made, in the running around – the transformation that the architects created though the care that they have put in to Atelier Acaia is reflected in the eyes of the children.
To construct a space like this is to before everything allow these children to construct themselves.”
(part of lecture given by Elisa Bracher at Escola da Cidade in 2002)