Wind-catching towers emerge from the circular rippled roof of this brick and wood school building in Koudougou, Burkina Faso, which was designed by the architect of this year’s Serpentine Pavilion, Diébédo Francis Kéré.
Berlin and Burkina Faso-based Kéré Architecture designed the Lycée Schorge Secondary School for a site on the outskirts on Koudougou – the West African nation’s third largest city by population.
The secondary school building comprises a series of nine connected modules arranged in a ring formation. These modules accommodate classrooms and administrative facilities, as well as a dental clinic for the students.
Kéré used locally available building materials throughout the project to demonstrate that they can be applied to innovative contemporary structures.
“The architecture not only functions as a marker in the landscape, it is also a testament to how local materials, in combination with creativity and teamwork, can be transformed into something significant with profound lasting effects,” he said.
The school’s walls are made from local laterite stone, which is harvested from the earth and then cut into bricks that harden in the air to create a material with excellent thermal mass.
Ventilation towers perched on top of the classrooms funnel breezes into the spaces and provide an outlet for stagnant warm air, which is also expelled through apertures created by the undulating vaulted roofs.
The overhanging plaster-covered white roofs also protect the interiors from direct sunlight while spreading natural illumination throughout the spaces.
An angled screen formed from a local fast-growing wood wraps around the brick-walled classrooms and helps to protect gathering spaces along the outer edges of the building from sunlight and dust.
Furniture throughout the school is made using from local hardwoods and materials salvaged from the construction process, including scraps of steel from the roof structure.
The building’s circular plan results in a protected central courtyard that can be used for assemblies and celebrations by the school or the community. It also provides privacy and a sense of autonomy from the surrounding area.
LOCATION: Koudougou, Burkina Faso
ARCHITECTS: Kéré Architecture
PHOTOGRAPHER: Iwan Baan