Many children in Africa are forced to bear the brunt of attending schools with poor ventilation that can easily overheat under the African sun. WAYAiR’s proposal for a new school in Ulyankulu tackles the climate issue and provide an “educational village” respecting the local heritage and identity of the town. WAYAiR is a group of like-minded educators that for the last 25 years have developed their unique school program in Poznan, Poland using an art based educational program and now wish to share their expertise worldwide.
The team of architects, including the Mies van der Rohe’s 2016 Young Talent Architect Award winner Iwo Borkowicz, have proposed a school to be built that accommodates social activities for both during and after school hours, promoting play between the kids and other Ulyankulu inhabitants. The town is a result of the migration of thousands of Burundi refugees in 1970s after mass genocides, the team have worked closely with both migration experts, ethnographers, educators and finally architects to design a primary school for the people of the town.
Central to their design are the mango trees that the classrooms will be situated around, forming an inner central courtyard protected under the canopy. The layout of the school will also use the greenery to increase the ventilation benefits as hot air will escape in the direction away from the trees and the double roof system will draw out the cooler air from beneath the tree. As well, the roof will collect rainwater to prepare for the annual droughts that the country suffers from. The entire building will be built upon thick foundations with a high thermal mass that can retain the colder temperatures from during the night and help to cool the classrooms during the day.
The architects have remained loyal to the local materials and craftsmanship techniques. Most of the materials will be sourced from nearby, including palm leaf mats for the ceiling finish, plastic weave for the window shutters and clay bricks that will be fired on site. Surrounding the classrooms will be a perforated serpentine wall, bordering the introverted courtyards between adjacent classrooms giving a unique identity and colour. Each of the courtyards will provide play equipment like nets, swings and slides for a continuous playground surrounding the school. The finished building will be a festival of colour, glistening in the African sun.
LOCATION: Ulyankulu, Tanzania
DESIGN TEAM: Iwo Borkowicz (JEJU.studio), Adam Siemaszkiewicz (JEJU.studio), Lukasz Rawecki (ARH+)