La Falda, Primary School

EBBA ARCHITECTS, Alicante, 2018


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Benni Allan     Download Original

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La Falda is an experimental project completed as part of a renovation to a primary school, using simple recycled bitumen panels in variations of terracotta that mimic the roofs of buildings in Spain.

The name - Spanish word for ‘dress’ – derives from the resemblance between the façade’s form and textures to traditional Valencian dresses. In accordance with Spanish planning laws, the school’s location on “agricultural land” means that any new buildings have to be classified as ‘temporary’.

The current primary school is housed in a 30-year-old prefabricated structure, which has weathered over the years. EBBA wanted to help provide a lively and distinctive architectural identity that would transform the project to inspire the students in years to come.

The undulating forms were designed to reference the roof-tiles synonymous with the region and the colour palette of southern Spain. EBBA’s concept was the design of a low-tech solution that could be easily constructed and would reflect the economy of means. The self-build was completed on an impossibly tight budget while radically changing the architecture, helping to give new life to what was a tired building at the school.

The tectonic assembly of the tiled system involves a series of bespoke aluminium brackets fixed to the existing building. Timber battens support each of the panels, installed using simple fixings.

EBBA developed the project through rigorous material investigations and testing of paints with different colour variations to help achieve an effect that feels almost crafted.

The choice of the corrugated sheets came from the resources available, yet the versatility of the material offered an opportunity to create tiled-sized panels that could cover a large area. The project was a search for new methods of using the material – often used to clad warehouses and farm buildings – in an inventive and beautiful way.


  • Begun: Jun 2018
  • Completed: Jun 2018
  • Floor area: 400m2
  • Sector: Education
  • Total cost: £1,000
  • Funding: Private
  • Tender date: Apr 2018
  • Procurement: Minor Works
  • Address: Sierra Bernia School, La Cañeta s/n, Alfaz Del Pi, Alicante, 03580, Spain

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