COMPETITION FOR A RURAL PRE-SCHOOL
A building in the landscape
A building of the landscape
The above two propositions present the design thinking for the proposal as follows :
A building in the landscape, is without perimeters or boundaries. The earth beneath your feet extends from outside, to within a group of structures, then out and beyond. Walking through it, between the function parts of which the whole is composed, is possible. Overhead, there is a canopy of trees, vaulted structural roof elements and an over-sailing tilted sheet roof. The tilting sheet roof covers the entire site, is pierced by ventilation and cooling chimneys, and a water tank tower. The chimney towers will make visible the building from a distance in the landscape, from numerous directions of approach, by bus, bicycle, on foot.
A building of the landscape refers both to the surrounding natural landscape as well as settlement methods and patterns nearby. The ground and sand of the site is utilised : the floor platforms, walls and vaulted canopies are constructed out of compressed earth building blocks. The tilting sheet roof collects rain water to a storage tank below the ground at the low end of the roof tilt. The tilted sheet roof, facing north, reflects solar gain, (can be utilised for solar panels), and in places is permeable to also allow sunlight into the spaces between the structures. The chimney towers employ prevailing air movement, to draw cool air into the spaces beneath the sheet roof, and equally to extract air as it heats up during the course of the day
The spatial program, below, is knitted into the above propositions :
There is a central group of spaces, linear in layout but accessible also from all sides, comprising of the arrival space, covered court and school yard, the space for eating, the multipurpose covered space and an external ‘boma’ with a fire pit. The central group of spaces is an arrangement of structures within which the kids come to learn and play and the community comes to gather
The necessary functions : classrooms, kitchens, offices, lockable stores, bathrooms etc are arranged around the central group of spaces. Without authoritarian emphasis. All the necessary function spaces are easily accessible from the central group of spaces. Classrooms face both onto the central covered school yard, as well as onto adjacent external spaces.
The premise here is that learning need not be restricted to traditional classrooms only. Learning can happen where a group of people can assemble with ease and in comfort. If the day is good, there are benches outside, under the trees or roof canopy
‘we first spread a parasol to throw shadow on the earth, and in the shadow we put together a house’ – Japanese novelist Tanizaki
Henry Fagan & Partners
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