The editorial categories are research topics that have guided researchers during the recovery phase and continue to be the impetus behind the Documents Project’s digital archive and the Critical Documents book series. Developed by the project’s Editorial Board, each of the teams analyzed this framework and adapted it to their local contexts in developing their research objectives and work plans during the Recovery Phase. Learn more on the Editorial Framework page.
Juan O’Gorman addresses the problem of architecture from the perspective of functionality versus aesthetics and concludes that the two opposites should be fused into one: “architecture should serve as a useful object and as an object of contemplation.” But, keeping in mind the high cost of construction, the architect proposes realistic plans for building new, functional schools. In O’Gorman’s opinion, schools should not aim to be works of art; their maintenance costs should be minimal; they should be sanitary, with good light, ventilation, warm showers and tree-shaded playgrounds; similar amounts should be spent on corridors and as a result, they would be inexpensive. In short, O’Gorman thought that engineering, and not architecture, was the key to a successful building. He submitted this idea to the Minister of Education, Narciso Bassols, who grasped the concept and set about putting it into effect.
Once they were built, the functionalist schools were plagued with problems. Subjective criticism condemned them for looking like shoe boxes or German architecture. In fact, the schools did have some specific problems, such as having too much light coming through skylights; open spaces had to be blocked against the searing heat; and asphalt floors prevented drainage and moisture collected in the walls.