The first school becomes too small
The Primary School built in 2001 quickly became too small to meet the rapidly increasing school application demands. The building was designed to accommodate 120 students, but soon the number of pupils reached 300. That is why the construction of a new building with four classrooms, a school kitchen, a library and a football pitch began in November 2005. With overwhelming support from surrounding villages, this school extension was built using local labor and materials. The extension building more than doubled the capacity of the Primary School, and today approximately 700 pupils attend classes. The Primary School Extension was completed in 2008.
The first Primary School as an architectural model
The Primary School was built in close conjunction with the Gando community members, and the building quickly became an important identifying landmark in the region. Since the material quality and architectural expression of the first building became such a strong symbol for the Gando community, the Primary School Extension was designed following the same construction principles and methods.
The Primary School Extension's construction was designed to suit the hot climate, and use locally available resources. Every morning for a year, the children of Gando brought a stone to the construction site to provide material for the foundation. This was meant to show them how their personal actions could directly contribute towards a community project.
Similarly to the Primary School, the Primary School Extension was also built with hand-made compressed stabilized earth blocks. It also has a big overhanging tin roof protecting the clay walls from the sun and rain. The first Primary School used a flat roof which was effective, but required a large amount of steel cladding, making it expensive. The Primary School Extension uses a rounded vault roof, which needs fewer steel supports. The monumental vault was built with gaps within the weave of the brick pattern of the ceiling. This ‘breathing’ surface draws cool air from the windows into the interior space and allows the hot air to escape through the ventilations, all while remaining shaded and protected from damaging rains by the overhanging roof. The combination of solar and thermal energy produces air circulation and has a cooling effect for the classrooms, which in turn creates much better working conditions, and considerably influences the pupils’ achievements. Today, they have the best academic results in the region.
AWARDS: BSI Swiss Architectural Award 2010 | Zumtobel Group Award for Sustainability and Humanity in the Built Environment | Global Award for Sustainable Architecture 2009