NBRS+PARTNERS recently entered the KYM Field School competition, which encouraged architects to design an off-grid school with two classrooms, bathrooms, water storage and sleeping quarters for teachers. The plan is to use the winning design to build 1,000 schools across regions of Africa, to help increase the educational learning opportunities for thousands of students.
The NBRS architecture team drew on context from the African Villages’ flat lying and grouped nature, and created a design that would naturally integrate with this environment. The inspiration behind the design was the Baobab Tree, a symbol of African sustainability. The water-storing potential of the trunk is its defining feature, capable of storing up to 100,000 litres. This unique tree is a natural focal point in the landscape, a marker for gathering and taking in the shade.
The BAOBAB SCHOOL is comprised of modular buildings (pre-made components that can fit on a standard truck and be transported to different sites) with locally sourced materials used for the remainder of construction. The design draws on the tree’s environmental principles- a canopy roof that harvests water for storage, maximises sun-shading and encourages cross ventilation. The school’s sustainability shapes its key compositional elements, providing indoor and outdoor spaces conducive to gathering and learning.
The BAOBAB SCHOOL provides a self-sufficient design with environmentally sustainable principles which can be adapted to many environments with its modular buildings and use of local materials.