Client: Archstorming

Location:Xai Xai, Mozambique

Year: 2020

Facility: Educational

Size: 1.600 m2

Status: Concept

Scope: Architecture, Urban Design, Interior Design

Our design aim is cost-effective building techniques that demonstrate the value of innovative design. These buildings are arranged around courtyards into ‘clusters’ of six classrooms,dining room,multipurpose hall and management rooms. Each units is developed around a simple scheme of buttressed columns, connected together to form different practical elements: walls, doors, as well as benches and built-in storage areas.

Everyday life in rural Mozambique takes place largely outdoors. In the preschool, teachers and children can spend their educational time in the safe courtyards and covered outdoor spaces. Outdoor education areas are used for a variety of programming. The educational open areas consists of two playgrounds and two square areas that support the creativity of children. One square is connected to the multipurpose hall and the other is connected to the dinnig room. Covered pathways connect the units to one another and to shared spaces (dining room, multipurpose hall and classroom), providing shelter from the harsh sun and heavy seasonal rains, while also fostering a sense of school community.

We designed the roof geometries with the region’s fluctuating climate in mind. Direct sunlight does not enter windows, keeping buildings cool during the daytime. Sharply angled and connected by gutters that channel rainwater into the school’s rainwater collection system, the roofs are also equipped with solar panels to power the lights.

We use wood for the trusses supporting the sheet-metal roofs Roofs of the units are aligned with complimentary geometries to better capture and redirect rainwater. Overhangs protect walls from damage by the rain; in one direction the roof overhang creates covered circulation areas, and in the other, shaded outdoor areas that play host to daily activities. The double-layered roof design encourages air circulation to keep units comfortable in the summer.

Due to the lack of sustainable building materials in Mozambique and the issue of deforestation, the project’s walls are constructed of Compressed Stabilized Earth Blocks (CSEBs) as an alternative to traditional fired brick, which uses large quantities of wood in the firing process. Cement-stabilised foundation increases building stability and, together with the moisture barrier, prevents damage caused by rising damp.