MAD Building
The Grange School, Santiago. CHILE
Architect: Max Núñez
Collaborators: Felipe Camus, Marine Winckler, Santiago Valdivieso
Location: La Reina, Santiago, Chile
Finished: December 2014
Clients: The Grange School
Structural Engineer: Enzo Valladares
Landscape Architect: Teresa Moller
Lighting Designer: Docevolts
Technical Inspection: Patricio Rojas
Building Contractor: Constructora Marchetti
Built Surface: 1000 m²
Materials: Concrete
Photographs: Erieta Attali

The MAD Building is located at The Grange School. The project came out of an initiative to promote the arts and encourage creativity and innovation within the learning process. Its name is an acronym for Music, Art, and Drama, the three branches of the school’s Arts Program that the building will house.

The site is a square 21 x 21 meter area located in the center of the campus facing two older neo-classical style buildings which are emblematic of the school: Assembly Hall and the John Jackson Building. While these classic structures are firmly anchored to the ground and their perimeters clearly define their borders, the MAD Building is a suspended body that allows exterior spaces to flow into and penetrate it, generating a new community space for the school.

The layout is separated into two levels: an underground floor with two multi-purpose rooms (for music and theater) and a second level with three rooms for the Visual Arts Department. This layout frees up the first level, transforming it into a common space protected from the elements that connects the various patios and walkways surrounding the building. It dimensions—4.5 m high with a 21 x 21 m surface area—allow it to be used for such diverse purposes as a play space, exhibition space for students’ work and outdoor lectures.

The open area houses five large reinforced concrete columns of varying shapes and sizes that hold up the upper level. Each column contains a vertical void that spatially and visually connects the three levels of the project: small lightwells that also serve to illuminate and ventilate the underground floor.

The second level is characterized by its irregularly-shaped roof, which functions as a self-supporting cover that eliminates the need for additional supports. The concave interior space generated by the roof make this open-plan floor a qualified space. It is a free space, but one that is not neutral.