Kéré Foundation Kéré Foundation

Naaba Belem Goumma Secondary School

Back to Overview

Now that the Burkina Faso government also supports secondary schools, the Naaba Belem Goumma Secondary School - named after Francis' father - is intended to provide students with access to higher education and to improve young people’s training opportunities. The project has been planned since 2010 and was awarded the Global Holcim Award in Gold in 2012.

The campus will consist of a courtyard surrounded by 5 school buildings, an auditorium, a school library, administration buildings, various sports facilities, a resource center, an assembly hall, and sheltered parking for bicycles and motorbikes. It is designed for up to 1000 students from Gando and its adjacent villages. As of today two school buildings are completed and used by around 300 students. In addition to offering resources to students, the Secondary School will also serve as a meeting point for the community, providing facilities for meetings and events.

Designed after the climatic principles of the region

Combining both modern and vernacular construction methods, the Secondary School design shows how a low-tech, energy-saving and low-cost climatic concept can be used in areas of extreme heat and drought.

The layout is inspired by the traditional rural households in Burkina Faso: the classrooms are set out in a circular fashion forming a protected courtyard, shielding it from the dust and sand brought by the Harmattan winds during the dry season. The structure is open on its West side, allowing a cool breeze to enter the area.

The very hot temperatures, large class sizes and lack of air-conditioning in Burkina Faso make it very difficult for pupils to concentrate. Therefore, we developed an innovative air-cooling system that only uses natural ventilation. The school is surrounded by a bank of earth, on which trees are planted. The trees provide shade, and rainwater is gathered to water them. Perforated pipes are laid underneath these earth banks, and they gather the water moisture. As the wind blows through the pipes it cools down and emerges in the classrooms through holes in the floor, providing a zero emissions under-floor cooling system. Together with the massive clay walls and the overhanging roof, this natural - cooling system is a further improvement of the ventilation system already applied to our other buildings. 

The Campus as a green oasis

Burkina Faso’s expanding population and predominant use of firewood as fuel have resulted in major deforestation problems. An estimated 60% of the country’s trees have been chopped down in the last 15 years. To make matter worse, reforestation programs often plant eucalyptus trees which grow easily and quickly, but soak up vast amounts of groundwater at the expense of local agriculture.

In order to combat this problem, the Secondary School Campus uses eucalyptus wood as a construction material and the cleared trees are replaced by and mango trees. Contrary to eucalyptus trees, mango trees need less water and provide shade. They also produce fruits that the pupils can enjoy during breaks.

New building method

Rather than building the walls brick by brick, Francis Kéré has developed a quicker technique: pouring the mud and a small quantity of cement directly into a mold. The double-skin roofs and facades are made from clay, metal, and local wood and protect the interiors from the damaging rains and winds.

Like our other projects, the Secondary School Campus uses a local construction team. Specialists trained by Francis Kéré supervise members of the local community, training them in the essential building techniques. This on site training enables the inhabitants to replicate the building’s design to personal projects, while encouraging them to adopt sustainable methods instead of the usual concrete option.

We designed our own furniture



AWARDS: Global Holcim Award Gold 2012 / Regional Holcim Award Gold for Africa and Middle East 2011


Help us to finish this project