luca peralta’s ‘terra madre’ project is the winner of a design competition for the construction of a new nursery school and public plaza, organized by the city of bisceglie in southern italy as part of the ‘qualità italia’ program. the innovative plan is characterized by an alternation of served and serving spaces defined by parallel walls. this group is intercepted by the fluid system of a ring corridor that defines the main entrance and, wrapping around the internal courtyard, connects and links all of the internal and external functions.

bird’s-eye view of the nursery school’s south elevation
image by alessandro peralta



italian architect luca peralta‘s project evokes a profound metaphoric and aesthetic link with mother nature through an ethereal womb-like characteristic of a curvaceous central courtyard — a true outdoor classroom planted with vegetation typical of the local landscape and trees and shrubs of the mediterranean scrub. similarly, the outer garden in the perimeter is filled with small allotments, fruit trees and nurseries where the school’s young users can learn about how fruits and vegetables are cultivated — a clear ecological message that favors discovery and learning through multisensory outdoor activities and encourages the participation of families and the local community in scholastic life.

view of the nursery school’s main elevation from the public plaza
image by luigi filetici



the structure of reinforced masonry piers has been selected for its insulating and thermal inertia and acoustic insulation characteristics. it has an exceptional performance in an area subject to seismic activity. reinforcing the project’s evident attention to the environment is the extensive use of sustainable materials and passive systems that reduce energy consumption during construction and the life of the building. important examples include: the correct orientation of the building and its different spaces, the particular form of the building and the open central courtyard which favors natural illumination and ventilation. all of this is coupled with the use of LED light fixtures inside the school and in the plaza.

the public plaza is covered with thermoplastic playground marking 
image by luigi filetici



the production of all energy from renewable resources, using a heat pump with an elevated COP, coupled with the collection and storage of rainwater, made it possible to achieve the important objective of an ‘almost zero energy building’, with an A4 rating. in particular, the roof features 40 kW of integrated photovoltaic panels that produce all of the energy required by the school. what is more, the innovative use of approximately 30 kW of storage batteries, provides the building with sufficient energy for bad weather days or for the nighttime illumination of the school, the gardens, the plaza and the adjacent streets.

the main entrance of the school from the public plaza
image by alessandro peralta

typical interior view of the classrooms
image by alessandro peralta

curvilinear glazed corridor with customized safety representation of different ecosystems
image by alessandro peralta

view of the central outdoor classroom
image by alessandro peralta

the ‘ceiling’ of the central outdoor classroom
image by alessandro peralta

night view of the central outdoor classroom with the LED lights on
image by luigi filetici

the ‘terra madre’ outdoor classroom 
image by alessandro peralta


back elevation and the vegetable garden in front of the classrooms
image by alessandro peralta

cardboard competition study model



designboom has received this project from our ‘DIY submissions‘ feature, where we welcome our readers to submit their own work for publication. see more project submissions from our readers here.


edited by: apostolos costarangos | designboom




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