FLOR DA MANHÃ – MOZAMBIQUE PRE SCHOOL Xai-Xai District (Gaza Province, Mozambique). The villages surrounding the proposed school historically struggled to make a living in a land that can be as harsh, as it is beautiful. The design offers a sustainable alternative to schools development in remote areas, with a concept that will simplify the construction process.
The remoteness of the site poses a particular construction challenge, which we addressed by using small upcycled containers that can be transported to site and assembled by local labour. The design principle is to then create a comforting space by combining indigenous structures with the assembled containers. The concept revolves around phasing the construction process (the logistics), whereby containers loaded with building material will be transported and delivered to site and unpacked. The “box concept” can then be used during the initial stages of the project as storage, site office, temporary sleeping arrangements, making it a very flexible element during construction and eventually utilized as the final assembly of a classroom. This will speed up construction time and assist with the difficult task of place-making in rural areas.
The containers are elevated on a secure footing, so that floodwater can pass underneath the structures thereby adding another advantage of using the “box” concept by preventing damage to school material or threaten the safety of the children and staff during possible flooding. The arrangement of the structures creates an enclosed central courtyard space for the kids to play and learn in a safe and interactive environment. On the perimeter, the structures flare open into the landscape, giving nature opportunity to grow (or flow) into the spaces. The traditional wooden pole structures are constructed on-site as screens and patio coverings, using local tree branches for the roof, which assist with heat gain.
The free-standing roof canopy above the structure, allows natural airflow to contribute to a sustainable cooling system. The wooden pole roof structure over the main entrance also doubles as an elevated play area for the kids and adds more square meters to a site that is limited to its available space. The internal courtyard, filled with trees and structural canopies creates a more comfortable micro-climate. Adobe bricks and rammed earth construction are used to build walls and enclosures that are well-insulated against the heat and most humid climate. These structures are used to house rooms that are sensitive to the harsh climate conditions, such as the kitchen, pantry and food preparation areas. All classrooms open up into the courtyard, with a visual connection to the outside on the opposite end of the room, blurring the boundary between internal spaces and the vast African surroundings, allowing the kids a great educational environment.
The school must be self-sustainable with regards to electricity, water supply and sewage. To achieve this, solar panels are housed on the roof structures to supply electricity, water is sourced from boreholes as well as greywater treatment and a septic tank system are installed for wastewater treatment. A large roof over the amphitheatre, dining area & multi-purpose space will harvest rainwater that can be used for drinking water, cleaning and cooking. With 5 x 5 500l water storage tanks, the capacity will be able to store a total of 27 500l of water on site.