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San Francisco de Asis Educational Institution


The construction of educational spaces for the San Francisco de Asis Educational Institution is part of the Enel Cuore Community Empowerment Program. The project is currently being developed in Colombia by Architecture for Humanity with the local support of Endesa Colombia Foundation as well as Happy Hearts Fund which is supporting the construction of classrooms.

STATUS: Construction Complete


San Francisco de Asis is a public institution dedicated to education and vocational training for young people in the dense, marginalized area of Cartagena, Colombia. This institution has been operating for 25 years, preparing young people from the area for their academic high school qualifications, as well as providing training in various technical specializations.

The institution is also unique in its dedication to promoting the importance of arts and culture as a critical part of its students’ education and personal development. It is home to a groundbreaking program offered by ‘El Colegio del Cuerpo’ (School of the Body), Colombia’s first contemporary dance school for disadvantaged children. The program is highly popular, with some participants travelling a great distance to take part.

There is a huge problem of overcrowding in the 22 existing classrooms, due to rapid population growth in the communities that are served by the educational institution, and an influx of students after recent floods forced adjacent institutions to close.


View Enel Community Empowerment Program in a larger map


This project will provide new classrooms and a dance facility for the school, allowing this unique institution to reach more young people. The hall/performance center is key to the project, functioning as a bridge between the school and surrounding area helping to unify a disenfranchised community through dance.

The first phase of the project includes:

  • Masterplanning for future expansion
  • 3 New classrooms.
  • 1 Multipurpose dance hall.
  • General exterior works.
  • Minor landscape upgrade

The design proposed by OPUS ESTUDIO responds to the local environment, culture and the demands of use. Lightweight timber façade elements allow cooling by natural ventilation; the steep roof profiles are designed to provide natural illumination while keeping the space cool in the tropical climate and to resist the heavy seasonal rains.


Sponsoring partner Project Management Local Partner & Sponsor Sponsoring partner


The role of Architecture for Humanity is essential throughout all the project development stages. The first step is to analyze the feasibility of the project in order to design an appropriate building that relates to the existing context and the community can take full ownership of the project. Architecture for Humanity is managing the design, construction and construction administration of the school, making sure that the project represents the community’s objectives and the project is developed within schedule and budget. The role of Architecture for Humanity also consists in post-occupancy services in order to build a quality infrastructure that will be sustainable and used by the Mamonal community’s youth for the next generations.


Workshops engaging the community
Report describing the most important activities involving the community during the design stage.

Architectural design brief
Report describing the goals to develop during the design stage.

Schematic Design – School MasterPlan
Analysis and visualization of the school’s long term project.


Carrera 3 #8-71 Barrio Arroz Barato, Region del Mamonal
Cartagena, Bolivar

Project Details

NAME: San Francisco de Asis Educational Institution
PROJECT LEAD: Architecture for Humanity
LOCATION: Carrera 3 #8-71, Cartagena, Bolivar, Colombia
START DATE: June 26, 2012
CURRENT PHASE: Construction complete
SIZE: 278 sq. m
PROJECT TYPE: Education Facility - Training Center, Education Facility - Primary School
, Happy Hearts Fund
CLIENT: San Francisco de Asis School
CONTRACTOR(S): Pedro Antonio Medina Tejeda
BENEFICIARIES: The institution serves 540 young people seeking vocational training, 800 young people between 6-8th grade, and 105 in vocational courses. Additionally, it serves youth from other institutions who come to train as technicians.