A simple premise:
Is obscurantism endemic to bureaucracy?
Treat bureaucracy as an outside entity, and passerby as the audience for the exhibit, forcing transparency through familiarity.
Despite being one of the largest and most iconic institutions in a country filled with public governmental bodies, the Minister of Education of Costa Rica is wholly decentralized in its infrastructure.
Over seven mayor offices exist as an atomized network in the great metropolitan area. Added to this, the initial discovery revealed an almost Byzantine structure of nested departments within department with no clear organizational structure.
After this realization, the design focus shifted, from conflating sections into an amalgamate site to creating a space conducive to transparency. The objective was to reveal the inner workings of the ministry.
Two competing strategies where used:
• Treating space as a materialization of bureaucratic structures. Making the implicit visible using Graph Theory.
• Weaving transit and pedestrian access to the whole building, by treating the inside areas as a Zoo exhibit, inviting passersby to take a peek into the inner workings of the government.
This dispersed arrangement facilitates the subduction of casual pedestrians into the inner working of the government.
Not as a means of participation but in a way to exacerbate the sense of otherness that already exists between bureaucracy and citizenship. A zoo is not a relationship of interaction or kinship; it’s an unbalanced relation between spectators and enclosures.
Similarly, the bureaucracy zoo confronts a power dynamic not between species but between city dwellers and government officials. It is a liminal space where obfuscations and transparency coexist.
The skin configuration was defined using Solar Geometry, to maximize sunlight incidence in public areas and indirect lighting (250 Lumen/m2) inside the offices.
The wingspan of each volume’s cross section is calculated to allow for natural lightning across all seasons.
All lateral covers are structured as double skins using refracting panels to project direct sunlight towards the inner ceilings while preventing screen glare.
The central piece of the compound is a double skin facing the main road.
Two layers of pre-programmed grids create an interference pattern resulting in a double Moiré Effect.
When walking down the street, it reads “Ministry of Education,” and at a distance, it reads the colloquial MEP.