04.2018 - 06.2019
Client: MEMUSI FOUNDATION
Location: Magadi, Kenya
Duration: April 2017 - ongoing
The classroom prototype draws inspiration from the arid, rocky landscape of the Magadi region and is designed to be robust and low maintenance to ensure its longevity in a remote rural context. A modular design allows classrooms to be organised around a central playground and the stone infilling technique applied in the construction of the gabion walls can be mastered by both local women and international volunteers coming to teach at the Memusi schools. The classroom combines a prefabricated steel frame and locally sourced materials to offer a viable alternative to a customary concrete classroom design in terms of construction cost.
Soaring temperatures and large class sizes can make learning more challenging for children in rural Kenya and the classroom prototype mitigates these challenges both through passive design strategies and providing a well-equipped learning environment. The thermal mass of the external gabion walls absorb heat during the day ensuring cooler indoor temperatures when the building is in use and large louvred windows on the eastern and western facades screen the interior from glare and encourage cross ventilation. The sheltered walkway provides a waiting area for the children before they begin class and shades access to the classroom during the hottest parts of the day.
See the classroom featured in the Architectural Review.