Mario Cucinella Architects' “green” and self-sufficient school

The sustainability concept exceeds the confines of the Gaza Strip

by Malcolm Clark
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Work on the first ecological school in the Gaza territory is about to begin. The project was unveiled by architect Mario Cucinella within the framework of the technical table held in Ramallah in 2010. The site is expected to open by the end of the year.

The project called Gaza Green School was developed from considerations connected to the critical conditions present in this area like the water scarcity and high energy costs.

A new school building model which is independent in terms of energy and water is the result of an eco-architecture project.

Innovative solutions to recover rainwater and treat wastewater using phyto-purification contribute – along with the adoption of simple construction systems and the use of renewable resources – to cover the needs and keep down costs.

Cucinella's prototype envisages a reinforced concrete foundation plate capable of reducing temperature excursions inside the building, below which an air space houses the pipes of a geothermal system and the rainwater tanks.

The water conduits are designed with a reinforced concrete double ring structure fixed to the foundation: some of the pipes will be filled with the soil coming from the excavation work while others will provide a natural ventilation channel triggered by the stack effect.

The building roof is designed as a two-layer sheet with an aerated cavity and various shaped photovoltaic modules integrated. It will reduce the heat gain of the building envelope as well as letting in natural light.

The project is financed by the Islamic Development Bank and developed in partnership with UNRWA (The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East) and the famous Italian architectural office.

Promoting the quality of the areas dedicated to teaching and the children's learning blends with the need to promote sustainable development not only in certain countries. These good intentions mean that in the next few years five more green schools are planned.

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    Kuwait School in Gaza 97

    Kuwait School in Gaza

    Gaza / State of Palestine / 2014