Chilean school by Sebastián Irarrázaval aims to protect and inspire vulnerable people

A school for young, vulnerable people in the outskirts of Santiago, called the Integral Stimulation Center, is Chile's latest piece of education architecture by Sebastián Irarrázaval

chile school by sebastian irarrazaval
(Image credit: Cristobal Palma)

Commissioned by the Isabel Aninat Echazarreta Foundation, a charity that supports vulnerable people, including children and young people with disabilities, this new school is designed by architect Sebastián Irarrázaval. Situated on the outskirts of Santiago in Chile, the impressive new piece of education architecture features its creator's signature approach of clean, geometric forms and knack for modern, minimalist spaces. 

A crisp, white, concrete composition of low and tall volumes, the Integral Stimulation Center unites a variety of spaces, including classrooms, laboratories, a gymnasium, a chapel and a heated pool. Functions are divided into clusters and designed to cater to specific student groups and special educational and mobility needs. 

exterior detail at the chile school by sebastian irarrazaval

(Image credit: Cristobal Palma)

Located in the neighbourhood of Talagante, the new school offers a protective environment for vulnerable people. It also provides a range of facilities designed to stimulate the cognition of its pupils, through formal and informal learning experiences. 

‘We proposed to accommodate these varied programmes in the manner of a walled citadel that would provide children with a protective environment, while allowing the coexistence of not only these diverse programmatic units, but also of different forms of movement through the interior: some more hierarchical and orderly, others more free and labyrinthine to encourage fortuitous encounters,’ says Irarrázaval.

The two taller buildings flag up the main entrance and the chapel, respectively, while operating as orientation points for the school’s users.

A version of this article was published in the April 2021 issue of Wallpaper* (264)

interior view of the chile school by architect sebastian irarrazaval

(Image credit: Cristobal Palma)


Ellie Stathaki is the Architecture & Environment Director at Wallpaper*. She trained as an architect at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in Greece and studied architectural history at the Bartlett in London. Now an established journalist, she has been a member of the Wallpaper* team since 2006, visiting buildings across the globe and interviewing leading architects such as Tadao Ando and Rem Koolhaas. Ellie has also taken part in judging panels, moderated events, curated shows and contributed in books, such as The Contemporary House (Thames & Hudson, 2018), Glenn Sestig Architecture Diary (2020) and House London (2022).

With contributions from