The village of Gangouroubouro is situated on the plain, at more or less an hour driving from the villages and at the feet of the rockface in Dogon country, the Falaise of Bandiagara in Mali (World Cultural Heritage, UNESCO, 1986). On a terrain with a surface of 2,5 ha the positioning of the classrooms has been determined, taking into consideration factors like the orientation towards the sun, the wind and the ground of the building site. The school stands on the highest part of the area. That way, water will hardly interfere during the rainy season.
The project consists of an ensemble of the actual school building, blocks with sanitary installations and an exterior communal space. The terrain will be enclosed by Jatropha bushes in order to offer some protection against animals. The school complies with the demands imposed by the government and by the CAP (Centre d’Animation Pédagogique). A class room has a surface area of 7 x 9 m² and should offer space to about 60 students. In total the school provides space to minimally 180 students (3 classrooms) and an office with storage facilities for the director. Instead of being close to the local traditional way of building the school building fits with its steel plates better to the open plain. It is made just like in the villages that are also situated out of the richer architectural zone, actually located along the cliff and on the plain.
The structure of the school building consists of a prolonged veranda of more than 3 meters, running parallel to the class rooms. The walls are made of a newly developed hydraulic-compressed earth block. These stones are produced on the spot from locally mined clay. The walls have been piled up in an alternating way, and so determining the rhythm of the facades. The veranda is provided with small wall-benches on two sides and shapes in this way the big terrace of the school.
The roof is constructed of overlapping steel plates, each hanging over and stretching for 1 meter from the veranda and from the facade of the back-part. By means of thin steel shaft profiles, the mass of the roof is being transferred to the buttresses. The poligny rafters, stretching over the class rooms, create a free floor surface. An advantage of this roof-design is the large extension, which creates additional shady spaces. By means of a wide stroke of semi-open masonry for ventilation and by the use of several openings of long and more narrow windows, it prevents wind forces pushing up the roof from underneath.
The facade also causes a lot of natural ventilation in the classrooms. The office and the storage facility have been realized with curved roofs and on a smaller scale, corresponding to the function of the space. The office of the director has also been equipped with a water basin, in which rainwater is caught. The openings in the facades, with its window frames and with blinds, are painted in an ochre yellow color. The floor stones of 60mm have been laid down in a decorative pattern.
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