Straw Bale School In Malawi, East Africa

Nuru Karim
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“Straw Bale” School in Africa

The project is a design proposal for a secondary school located in south-east Africa Malawi. It is 60 kilometers south of Nkhotakota Township and 50 kilometers north of Salima Township. The design responds to the brief focused on modularity, incremental expansion, deployment and sustainable technologies. A modular "ladder" component is deployed to create a structural system that houses the pedagogical intent of the school. The "ladder" component is incrementally arrayed along a path to explore inside-outside relations where learning environments are concerned. The angle defining the ladder has been determined to explore both horizontal and vertical conditions. The "horizontal" condition explores out of the classroom learning activities including spaces for amphitheatres, outdoor workshops and passive recreational activities.

A single module composed of arrayed components is aggregated across the site to create a simple growth expansion strategy for the entire school.

The ladder component, in addition houses both the technological and pedagogical components. The overall philosophy is based on "bottom-up" design processes encouraging local materials and community participation.

Local material infill such as "straw bale cubes" including voids for light and ventilation are injected on the entire surface to create a breathable skin. In addition local material infill such as earth, terracotta could also be explored. The entire system explores ease of repair and future maintenance advocating local construction practices.

The architectural program explores classroom environments, administration spaces, learning resources such as computer rooms, library, and laboratory / research areas. In addition, spaces for animals, multipurpose area and residential components for students and teachers are planned.

The design of the school embraces the role of the vernacular in shaping the future. The design is built on the cornerstone of "pedagogy", "deployment" and "sustainability" advocating the role of local materials and community / student participation.

Site Area : 10,676 Sq.M

Built Up Area : 4,825 Sq.M

Technology : Fire Resistant Timber Frame Structure, Straw Bale, Terracotta

Straw Bale School In Malawi, East Africa

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