Holcim Awards has announced the winners of the 2011 Holicim Awards Gold 2011 Africa Middle East. This school project is constructed by local community of Gando (Gando is situated in the southern plains of Burkina Faso, approximately 200 km from the capital Ouagadougou) and builds not only a series of structures, but also a sense of identity and enhanced social cohesion. Its “urban design” has the potential to act as an anchor point in the village structure. The project, as one element of a long-term school development, makes use of “high-tech” ideas that are implemented with low-tech means. It intelligently leverages the site’s characteristics and locally-available materials.

Diverse design aspects of the project consider the challenging weather conditions where summer temperatures peak at 35°C. The natural ventilation cooling effect is enhanced by routing air through underground tubes, planting vegetation, and the use of double-skin roofs and facades to achieve a 5°C thermal reduction. The enhanced indoor comfort and conditions are far more conducive to education.
Energy consumption during construction and operation is reduced to a minimum using only the sun and wind. The collection of scarce rainwater is integrated into the planting concept and is used to irrigate newly-planted trees that are intended to help consolidate previously exploited vegetation. Completed projects including an elementary school and library contributed to the evolving research and development process concerning design concepts, technologies and materials.
The project itself generates positive impacts upon both the social environment by generating opportunities for education, creating jobs and training; and on the natural environment through reforestation. People learn building skills using clay and other readily available local materials, which strengthens the idea of a mutually-beneficial process since the skills learnt can be applied beyond the confines of the site. The experiences and techniques partially applied to earlier projects realized independently on the same site were integrated, and prove the potential and applicability of the project’s inherent ideas.

+ Holcim Foundation

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