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A straight-forward construction is at the heart of the prototype for a school, which aims to be sophisticated yet simple. The design includes a participatory strategy to communicate knowledge and skills about historical building techniques within the local population and to work with local craftsmen to make the best use of available resources and to change views on traditional construction. The use of local materials also supports cost-effective manufacturing.

 With the school prototype, a building block is developed that can be taken as a self-sufficient system without been fixed to a specific location. As a central infrastructure for surrounding villages, the school can also be built in the middle of the plains in order to provide the best possible education for children from the surrounding area.

 On a paved platform, four mud-brick structures are grouped around a central inner courtyard. Above these stretches a separate wooden roof construction, extending above the platform and giving light to the inner courtyard through openings which also allow air to circulate to cool the rooms below in summer. Three of the structures are intended as classrooms, the fourth serves as the teacher's office and sleeping area as well as the sanitary area. The spaces between the structures are an essential aspect of the building. The individual units can be connected to these spaces, either to enlarge individual classrooms or to combine two of them. These semi-open areas open onto the garden to provide a view of an adjacent water tower, which contains play elements, and also a sports field and a workshop area.

 For a self-sufficient supply of electricity and water, alternative systems are used, such as solar modules for electricity generation or an innovative bicycle pump mechanism for transporting fresh water. Another water system that could be considered is a solar-powered pump, transporting fresh water into the high water tank and directing it to individual supply points. A three-material flow system in the sanitary area separates grey water, urine and faeces in order to use the mineral fertilizer produced for plants and return the remaining water to the ecological cycle.

TopicPrototype for a field school in Africa



LocationSub-Saharan Africa

Space500 sq m

Client Kimse Yok Mu Solidarity and Aid Association