A village. The team of architects decides not to design a building this time but to imagine a cell—the classroom—and establish the rules for this to in turn form the field, the landscape of small villas that, in the absence of an adjacent urban fabric, weaves its own plazas and streets without the need for fences.
The desire behind the project is to support an alternative mode of learning, in accordance with the spirit of the Montessori system. The origin of this complex is in a concentric rather than linear classroom, one that stimulates dialogue between adults and children, where neither of the two dominates the other.
The other driver behind the design of this learning space is the climate of the city of Mazatlán. A double body—the classroom surrounded by shadow, and the breeze directed towards it—cools the hot climate of the Pacific coast and uses a process of addition to construct an ambulatory that offers multiple and surprising routes. The concrete structure is protected and completed by another made from clay, in line with the teachings of Louis Kahn. This second boundary with its expressive geometry does not permit windows as such. Instead, it is perforated by simple and economical triangular openings using
prefabricated lintels, which offer long, filtered visuals and naturally acknowledge the different heights and scales of perception of everyone who looks through them.
The hexagon, one of the preferred geometric forms of biological assemblies as well as the tessellations of timeless Islamic art, establishes an order of growth—which can also be translated into phases of construction— for the interior spaces and courtyards, as well as to link the walkways. The María Montessori School of Mazatlán is a place of community and learning built on the basis of a clear and playful ordering of space.