AWARDS: AIA Florida 2020 – Merit Award for Unbuilt Architecture
70% of the population in Mozambique lives below the poverty line and one child out of five is not educated
A SETTING TP EMPOWER CHILDREN
The proposed building for a Preschool in Mozambique aspires to give young children a safe, inclusive, dignified and welcoming environment where to learn, grow, and feel nurtured. Through constant exposure to the natural surroundings, the children can appreciate the wonders of nature while embraced by a building that evokes it in form and spirit
The school is entered at the highest point of the site and is elevated in piers allowing the site and rain run off to flow naturally underneath. The Compass Entry Pavilion, offers welcoming gestures that include a small amphitheater for children and teachers to gather as they arrive or wait to be picked up. Both steps and ramps provide access to the main level around the amphitheater. The circular roof above the entry pavilion is oriented South and accommodates the triangular solar panels for energy.
Rain water from the roof is collected by a long gutter that runs the length of the main roof, collected at both ends of the building and directed to a water cistern located underneath the covered school yard. Located at the lowest end of the site, a retention lily pond gathers the rain waters through a natural rain stream in the sloping terrain.
All the main spaces, including the classrooms, open space, multipurpose and dining room are oriented North towards the landscape for optimal light away from the Southern sunrays.
The materials for the building include concrete piers and foundation beams, and a pine wood structure throughout. Wood columns and trusses follow the curves of the buildings providing a consistent method of assemblage. Walls are assembled with a combination of glazing, clay bricks and wood jalousie screens that can be closed or open for ventilation and site views depending on the weather conditions. Natural cooling is achieved through cross ventilation throughout and a double roof that keeps the heat away from the enclosed spaces. The primary roof in corrugated zinc panels allows for large overhangs for shading and in turn protect the wood structure. The secondary ceilings can be made with local materials such as dried grass applied to a light weight wood structure below the trusses.
Natural cooling is achieved through cross ventilation throughout and a double roof that keeps the heat away from the enclosed spaces. The primary roof in corrugated zinc panels allows for large overhangs for shading and in turn protect the wood structure.
The secondary ceilings can be made with local materials such as dried grass applied to a light weight wood structure below the trusses.
Garden interventions feature local plant materials and allow children to immerse in sensory learning. These include fragrance, touching and tasting gardens. The herb and vegetable garden will provide opportunities for planting and harvesting on site and enhance the school’s food supply. Most importantly, a butterfly garden will greet the children as they journey down the nature trail ramp to the gardens.
Flowing from building to landscape through balconies, terraces, loggias and ramps, the children can feel the comfort of being one with and embraced by Mother Nature.