The Craft School is an effort by Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, Technical University of Munich, University of Augsburg at sustainable urban living and technological interplay of materials and aesthetics towards achieving a harmonious and intellectually secure school environment.
It is often a challenging aspect in developing countries to convincingly pull across a viable community project, with many settling for sub-standard designs that are forcibly sold as community based architecture. The craft school is the opposite and it shows. You can see the concerted effort, visibly as well as in the after thought.
It is a building that exposes the struggle to achieve material cohesiveness and rightfully manages to explore the ever growing “Kere” typology that is bridging the gap in community architecture that is capacity building based.
The Craft School allows youths from Mathare, the second largest slum in the Kenyan capital Nairobi, a simple artisan training. It was built in two phases of architecture students from the Technical University of Munich and civil engineering students of the University of Augsburg, together with students from the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology and local workers.
The craft school consists of four buildings, which are arranged such that the resulting free areas can complement each building use. The walls of the buildings are constructed of solid natural stone masonry in the local tradition of the region. For the roof construction prefabricated structures made of bamboo were developed that have been tested in the construction preparation for their performance.
Once wood is for ecological reasons in Kenya a problematic building materials, the use of fast-growing, native bamboo a Kenyan virtually unknown alternative which has met on site with great interest and curiosity.
The use of renewable energy sources in the form of a photo voltaic system and concepts for water management in the form of rainwater harvesting, dry toilets and biological treatment plants are an important part of the building.
Architects: Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology/University of Munich/University of Augsburg
Location: Nairobi, Kenya
Photography: Matthias Kestel