Jácome Ratton Secondary School was built during the second period of school construction in Portugal (opened in 1958); it was a former industrial school.
As a general principle for the remodelling project, the main entrance was moved to the gate on Rua Professor Andrade, thus creating a school yard and allowing the foyer to function as a single entrance that is simultaneously the hub of distribution to the various elements that make up the school. The library occupies a privileged position above the entrance foyer, visually connecting the two spaces.
From the new foyer, distribution of users to all the teaching and support spaces is achieved through interior galleries, which connect to the other volumes on the ground level, and exterior galleries at the Level 1. The main foyer is directly linked to the social and informal learning spaces.
The classroom body has retained the functions of a formal learning nucleus (classrooms), the school management and administration spaces and areas for teaching and administrative staff, though it has been subject to spatial reorganisation. Laboratory spaces were added to the workshop body, with the whole structure being reorganised and re-dimensioned.
A new museological area was created which has an exhibition space for the heavy equipment and machinery that reflect the school’s original industrial vocation, as well as other artistic or graphic output that may be the content of exhibitions in the future. This new area also includes a multipurpose space with retractable seating elements with a capacity for some 200 people.
A new body was also built which incorporates the main foyer, library, pupils’ shared spaces and the canteen. In addition to these more “informal” spaces, this body also responds to the need to increase capacity in terms of formal teaching spaces – in particular in terms of ICT classrooms, classrooms for small groups and multipurpose classrooms.
The intervention also included the remodelling of all the school grounds, with the reinstatement of the athletics track and a sand box for jumping events on the outer ring and the creation of a new tree-covered space protecting the south façade of the classroom body.