STREET CHILDREN HOME
Location: Caracas, Venezuela
Client: Don Bosco Church
Using under-utilized land beneath the Francisco Fajardo highway, we created a facility offering both an orphanage and a rooftop sports field with an adjacent educational woodworking shop. As architects, we too must capitalize on pockets of opportunity. Caracas maps designating public and private property ignore the space underneath freeway bridges, areas typically seized by Buhoneros (informal street vendors).
Whereas the Vertical Gymnasium harnesses apertures above existing planes, this street-children’s residence exploits the overlooked space below large-scale, existing infrastructure. In the bowels of the concrete leviathan, we fitted a main dormitory for 30-plus street children. Stairs off of an external garden – used to grow a small plot of corn – lead to the building’s upper floor roofed by the highway bridge, where, situated perpendicularly, a basketball court and a soccer field share a central play area. Adjacent to this play court lays the rooftop workshop, making the centre refuge into a trade school, stimulating entrepreneurship.