For the longest time, there was not a single school in Manabí, a remote fishing village in Ecuador, so a group of people led by a devoted teacher decided to do something about it. Eschewing conventional concrete boxes that look and feel more like prisons than schools, the village opted for an organic boat-shaped structure made with natural materials in order to foster the children's connection to nature.
Built on pilings on the beach, Nueva Esperanza (which means new hope in Spanish) was constructed in accordance with the community’s longstanding vernacular. A timber base is accentuated with bamboo walls and the pitched roof is made with knitted straw or “cade.”
With no shortage of natural ventilation or daylighting, this lovely space is lined with colorful books, but it doesn’t feel like torture to be inside. Plus, given the location, outdoor education comprises a fundamental part of the curriculum.
The teacher told Architizer that the school, which allows the children to discover whole new worlds that sprout from their inner lives, has become a source of pride and unity for the entire community. And the inspiring boat shape pays respect to their reliance on fishing for sustenance.