SENEGAL school competition



Our design approach for the new Elementary School of Sambou Toura Drame in Marsassoum, Senegal is centred around creating spaces and built structures that will support the community in numerous ways. We have created buildings suited to the local climate using inexpensive and readily available materials combined to create functional and durable buildings. Rooms are shaded and well ventilated to remain comfortable in all weather and provide an exceptional learning environment for children.

Local materials, like unfired clay brick and bamboo, are combined in ways that are relatively easy to build by local community members and can be replicated on future projects. Integrated into the design is a rainwater harvesting system and dedicated space for a food garden and orchard.

Overall Site

Given the relatively hot climate of Marsassoum, attention has been given to maintaining comfortable indoor temperatures to support learning and other activities. High clerestory openings on the outside walls help hot air to escape while bamboo screens on the courtyard sides let light and air percolate through. Clay brick walls, laid out in a unique manner, provide thermal mass that helps regulate temperatures. Metal roofs, good for rain protection, have bamboo shading panels on top to reduce heat transfer.

Construction does not require specialized machinery or technical skills to fabricate or erect. Using materials as we propose will help develop local skills that can be readily deployed on future projects These materials also have a low embodied energy and minimal carbon footprint.

The primary material for walls is locally produced unfired clay brick stabilized with cement. The rat-trap bond construction utilizes roughly 30% less bricks and mortar than conventionally laid bonds.

Structural columns and roof members are made from locally available bamboo. Bamboo poles are bundled and connected to increase the compressive and tensile strength of individual members. Strongly integrated joint connections and diagonal members provide added strength and stability. Bamboo screen walls are proposed for the courtyard facing walls. Gaps between half-diameter slats provide for air circulation and daylight penetration into rooms.

Structure 1

Structure 2

Corrugated, zinc coated metal is the primary roofing material. It is a low cost and durable material but could lead to overheating of spaces. To greatly reduce heat transfer our design includes bamboo shading screens installed on top of the metal roofing.

Kitchen garden