Archstorming was calling for proposals to design a secondary school in Benga (Malawi). Universal education, gender equality and empowering women are vital components of the mission in developing countries. Educating children helps reduce poverty and will give the next generation the tools to fight poverty and conquer disease. School also offers children a safe environment, with support, supervision and socialization. Here they learn life skills that can help them prevent diseases, including how to avoid HIV/AIDS and malaria. Children may receive life-saving vaccines, fresh water and nutrient supplementation at school.
The aim of this project is to provide a better education to the youngest citizens of the country by giving them the opportunity to access a decent secondary school infrastructure. The school must have been designed to accommodate four academic years. At first only one classroom per academic year will be constructed, but participants had to take into account that the school could be extended in the future to three classrooms per academic year, which means twelve classrooms could be build at some point.
In the proposals, participants had to adapt on using local materials, easy constructive systems and energetic technologies in order to make proposals as realistic and efficient as possible. To achieve the goals set the following program was proposed: Four classrooms, Teacher office, Computers room, Library, Laboratory/ research area, Animal area, Multipurpose space, Dry latrine, Director and secretary office, Meeting room, Storage room, Students dormitories, Twelve basic houses for the teachers.
The Benga Parish Secondary School is a community-oriented space designed to educate Malawian youth. The concept of this campus finds its origin in the representation of life as a journey along a path. The work seeks to symbolize education as a catalyst for success along this path. The theoretical intention of this concept is to materialize the path to success. Students experiencing the space will physically and symbolically walk this path instinctively taking in the significance and purpose of the path’s design.
One of the school’s most highlighted goals is to educate the students about sustainable farming methods. False agricultural practices, such as the burning of farmland and selecting the wrong choice of crops are at the root of Malawi’s environmental and agricultural problems. They weaken the soil structure, making the land vulnerable to deforestation and flooding. Education is key to saving the country’s ability to sustain itself. The cultivated courtyards throughout the school are intended to serve as an educational simulation of conservation farming methods that the students can directly interact with. Students will engage in cultivating the farms with alternating crops such as maize, legumes and sweet potatoes to preserve soil nutrients. Waste collected will be converted to compost used to fertilize the crops and seedlings alike. The farming products are used as food, and any excess can be sold or donated to the local communities.
Courtyard building as a community building.
Inspired by the traditional compound, where rural communities’ lives sharing resources, knowledge and simply daily life, courtyards are the key to create different “micro cosmos” with different functions and atmospheres.
The courtyards, composed by different classes and students of different ages, are thought to recreate the social dynamics of a rural community where young children spend time with older children have delegated responsibility to care for and supervise younger children. This will generate a participation spirit and child to child sociability.
Designed to be executed in phases, the education and housing core programs are configured to form courtyards, maintaining a community garden for cultivation and maintenance by users, an ornamental structure that makes studying and living more attractive.
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