Brick by Brick

Makenna Learning Centre

This proposal for a new learning centre in Arusha tackles the climate issue and provides an “educational village” respecting the local heritage and identity of the town. The structure accommodates social activities for both during and after school hours, promoting play between the kids and other inhabitants. The programme was developed through a participatory process involving local villagers and inhabitants with the scope to be built by volunteers and with the help of local people using commonly available materials. The centre includes: kitchen, cafeteria, library, classrooms, offices, podium, basketball court and residence for the educational staff.

The complex is financed by donations and couldn’t afford glazed windows. Nevertheless, the performed walls and various openings let enough light and air while shielding the students from the heat and rain. The perforated brick wall maximize airflow and raised aluminum roofs partially reflect the solar heat owing to a Low E-coating, keeping the interiors cool. All walls and piers were constructed using earth-bricks that were fired on site in temporary kilns. The roof is made by a lightweight space frame. Teakwood foldable sliding doors make for versatile teaching environment and create flowing transition between indoors and outdoors. The complex’s concrete skeleton makes the buildings earthquake resilient. The buildings are also placed on a plinth, protecting them for the flooding and sand drifts. Children have ample room to play in spacious courtyard, which also act as the circulation space between the pavilions.