The first sustainable school in Argentina is built in Mar Chiquita

The first sustainable school in Argentina is built in Mar Chiquita

Based on the principle of “using waste to generate resources”, the public school Nº12 of Mar Chiquita will be an “Earthship”, a construction that makes the efficient use of resources, renewable energy and caring for the environment its basic axes. The concept of “Earthship” or “NaveTierra” was developed by the American architect Michael Reynolds who, tired of seeing that traditional architecture did not respond to the true needs of man and the environment, decided to revolutionize the sector with these constructions.

"These types of schools can bring a whole new generation of people to this planet, because they will have principles that will already be part of them from their education," said Reynolds yesterday at the presentation of the project at the Gral. San Martín Cultural Center.

While the classrooms were believed to be the only place of learning, there each solar panel, each reused tire, each recycled bottle was a training stimulus for the children. While the hours of the curriculum were the instance of learning, the recess included the care of the garden as entertainment and wisdom for each student. What we knew on the other side of the pond in Uruguay in August 2016 will begin to become a reality in Argentina next March: a sustainable school.

Establishing itself as the second school of its kind in Latin America, the “NaveTierra” will preserve the architectural, sustainable and educational characteristics of the first one created in Jaureguiberry, Uruguay, in 2016, and which are synthesized in seven principles:

1) Use of recycled materials, such as tire covers, cans and bottles;

2) Harvesting rainwater to make it available for other uses;

3) Reuse of water inside the school, including those considered "gray" from the sink;

4) Use of renewable energies, with photovoltaic panels that will bring the energy cost to zero;

5) Passive thermal conditioning with an average temperature between 18 and 25ºC, thanks to the location and the strategic way in which it is built;

6) Organic food production with an indoor and outdoor garden;

7) Development of the human factor, involving teachers and students who live in the school on a daily basis, but also the community that surrounds them.

With 270 m2, an approximate value of 1000 dollars per m2 and only 45 days of construction, the first sustainable school in Argentina will begin construction in March. In Mar Chiquita, Planmar is being carried out, which Don Powa, representative of the Amartya civil association, defines as a “new model of sustainable local development”. It is an alternative proposal for environmental education that offers transversal work approaches with neighbors, local governments and key socio-economic actors. You can see here more information and images of the project

By profession an architect, the mayor of Mar Chiquita, Carlos Ronda, assures: “To change our way of life it is very important to start with children. This school will be a symbol not only for the locality but also for the province and Argentina ”.

Martín Espósito, director of the “A Sustainable School” initiative of the Tagma organization, recalls the origins of the project in Uruguay, which will be replicated in Argentine territory: “It arose from the desire for a school building to exist where children would be educated day by day. day according to the principles of sustainable architecture of the documentary we had seen of Reynolds 'The Garbage Warrior' ('Garbage Warrior'). That was the beginning of a path that seeks to intervene in public education ”.

In dialogue with LA NACIÓN, Reynolds underlines the importance of the sense of community behind the project: “It is very similar to what happens in Africa when there is one last well of water left before it rains, all the animals go to it for the water. That is community. When all the substantial things of human beings are together, that unites people. And that union can start in a school ”.


Many of those involved in the initiative today believed at first that the project would turn out to be impossible. The reason? It required the joint intervention and participation of different actors, from the public, private and civil sectors. "It is not a project that arises from an NGO, but between several parties and where each one has a fundamental role in the project," says Espósito.

As strategic partners from the private sector, the Argentine school will have Ala as the main sponsor and with the support of WaltDisney and DirecTV.

The town of Mar Chiquita will receive 200 volunteers for the construction of the school. “20 of them are Argentines and will form the first containment circle,” explains Espósito, adding: “The other 80 people were selected by the Reynolds organization‘ Earthship Biotecture ’and are of different ages, backgrounds and countries. It looks for there to be differences between people because cultural enrichment during the project is important ”.

Beyond the 2000 covers, the 4000 bottles and the 800 cans that will be reused as part of the foundations, for Reynolds there is a differential that these schools have over any of the other hundreds of "Earthship" that he built around the world. more than 45 years: “The key to everything on this planet is to rethink. School gives children a chance to rethink. Children are the ones who have the greatest capacity to feel and make changes, whether we like it or not as adults. This rethinking to which they are invited from school is essential to improve the quality of life on this planet ”.

Rita Montans, a teacher at the Uruguayan school, assures that “the sustainability of the construction was going through them as the classes began”: “We were discovering the school with the boys. We are used to saying that there is recycle, reduce, reuse, but the school taught us to rethink education through sustainability ”.

The Uruguayan teaching team has been working with the Mar Chiquita teaching team since mid-2017 to share experiences, since sustainability is not worked there as an exclusive subject, but transversal to all areas and learning moments. In dialogue with LA NACIÓN, Montans makes public advice for those who are on the other side of the desk in Argentine classrooms: “The important thing is that practice, day by day, becomes theory. The concept that we are undergoing a change at an ecological level has to be present in the classroom in any way. There are tutorials on the Internet that teach you to make a hanging garden and from that so micro you can greatly diversify the content that you are going to work on. And that can happen in any school, not only in the sustainable one ”.

Video: Award Winning Sustainable School (July 2021).