Quinquela Martin Art School

Buenos Aires, Argentina
2nd Year Project, Virginia Tech

The Quinquela Martin Art School is a memorial school dedicated to the late artist, Benito Quinquela Martin. Martin’s art greatly influenced the culture of Buenos Aires. The project is located in the vibrant neighborhood of La Boca, known for its expressive arts culture and industrial roots. 

The project aims to absorb the fabric of La Boca through a minimal steel frame construction wrapped with a laminated glass envelope. Through this dematerialization of the building, the walls start to frame the views of the neighborhood and filter through the colors of the vernacular architecture. A minimal interior forms a ‘tabula rasa’ that allows the students to showcase their art and decorate the space, seeking to fulfill Martin’s dream of a mural decorating every room in his school.

Inspired by the collage of the neighborhood, the form gradually rises up through a series of gently sloped paths, that serve as both a means of vertical circulation and gallery spaces for exhibition. The sub-level of the building houses ample work space for the students and areas for presentation. Wide, gradually rising planes wind up from the studio space, leading patrons to a formal gallery space on the second level. From there, a security barrier prevents the public from entering the top floor, which houses the student residences.