The project, designed by Raoul Vecchio, aims to create a symbolic architecture that uses only local materials and simple yet innovative technologies, so as to create teaching and development opportunities also on site. The architecture is designed to optimize not only the spatial distribution of spaces but also the liveability inside, through systems of openings and volumes that create differences in pressures necessary to promote a natural ventilation useful for cooling environments. In fact, the large roof, in addition to absorbing and shielding the sun’s rays creating shading, has the purpose of promoting the escape of hot air flows.
The same funnel-shaped cover, moreover, foresee to collect rainwater from the rainy season in a central cistern for the reuse of water and the optimization of the water resource, necessary in a sub-Saharan climate.
The screens that incorporate the volumes create a filter from the sun’s rays, favouring the cooling of the walls and thus optimizing the quality of the interiors, and therefore also health factors that are sometimes dependent on excessive temperatures and humidity. The architecture is designed to absorb all sources of heat optimizing resources and spaces.
The volumetric composition also creates different accesses according to the activities that the user must perform. The volumes embrace a central courtyard destined to host large open-air cultural and musical events, while an auditorium can allow cultural activities to be carried out even during the day or during the rainy season.
As a whole, the architectural language recalls the distribution of the houses of the villages, often randomly arranged, but which together create unity and order thanks to a central court as a place of sociality and cultural exchange.
These social approaches considered fundamental for the functioning of the structure are also favoured by open spaces that allow a continuous relationship between the community and the users.
At the same time the offices open to the external context through a volume that embraces the user, and invites him to visit the museum/musical instruments shop that also serves the economic maintenance of the school.
Architecture responds to certain traditional languages, but they are reinterpreted in a modern way to provide a starting point for innovation and to create a model school for the whole region.
The entire architectural area is spread over a total of about 950sqm of enclosed spaces plus transitional areas and open spaces. The entire architectural structure can be divided into an office area connected to that production, assembly and registration, a training area with 3 classes, one of which is larger than the other two for greater flexibility, a housing area with a total of 12 accommodations for underprivileged students and guests, services and changing rooms and an events area with an auditorium and a central courtyard for outdoor events.
These areas are separated from each other by open spaces that create niches and places of rest, relaxation and sociability with seats and tables. These transition areas allow each of the individual areas to have a certain autonomy and not to overlap the flow of use of the structure that in some cases may be concomitant.
However, the four areas are connected by a large overhead roof that has a fundamental technology function for lowering the temperature and humidity inside the rooms through natural ventilation obtained by differences in pressure and by the central vacuum of the volume. From a vertical and horizontal shading system. The large central vacuum in the cover has a fundamental role in ventilation, because it allows the escape of hot air masses coming from inside the structure. These masses, coming out of the roof, produce a series of flows that ventilate the structure, allowing a completely natural air exchange and cooling.
Coverage also has a fundamental role in the management of water resources. In fact, having a funnel shape, the rainy season water is conveyed into a cistern that will serve to carry out normal activities inside the school.
The realization of the project is strictly connected to a language inspired by the traditions of architecture, like Diola House (in photo) and the local landscape. Only local resources are used and specifically, poor material, cheap and easy to find. The use of certain materials has the objective also to sensitize the communities in the respect of the environment and in the valorisation of the resources of the territory.
Bricks of baked clay and laterite are used, as per tradition, but optimized by technical measures in the construction phase. The use of cement is limited to the realization of the foundation. While the large roof is made of beams and wooden pillars from the forests of the area adjacent to the project area. The realization takes place through the involvement of the beneficiary community in order to create responsibility, and knowledge of new techniques for construction but also recognisability and identity in the school right from the implementation phase.
LOCATION: Ziguinchor, Senegal
ARCHITECT: Raoul Vecchio