Sustainable Learning Communities - One Heart Foundation Eco Village
Drawings, plans, elevations
The project locates itself in the discourse surrounding the legitimacy, legibility, identity and possible direction for an architectural culture that can critically extend the precepts and ethos of indigenous building in the region – ones that emerge from an understanding of materiality, climate and technique. The proposal draws from a dynamic reading of the site and context. The location of discrete buildings is organised to maintain visual connectivity and autonomy between programs. The sequencing and transition of lane-ways recall the alleys of incremental settlements. These streets bore through the Primary School and High School, where a smooth continuous edge is cast against the staggered arrangement of classrooms. Pedagogy – The project engages with multiple hierarchies simultaneously: indoor and outdoor learning spaces, formal and self-directed learning, scalable spaces to accommodate group activity or lectures and a constellation of breakout spaces and programmable circulation throughout the school. These idealised edges amplify a ‘between-ness’ and allow the coupling of activities. These spaces address the low attendance rates of children in the region. Form – The project experimented with fluid flow surfaces and geometries, mathematically generating a sequence of lines and potentials. These were mapped through a close analysis of the site, specificities of the programmatic brief and response to existing tree cover. The vortices are about proximity, centrality and hierarchy. The structures and open spaces organise themselves across and around nodes. The subsequent tessellations express ‘lines of force’, that react to the presence and intensity of other focal points. These reactions are deployed to either develop spatial adjacencies and internal relationships between programs or define boundaries. Facades – The façades can be read as a series of ribbon walls set within the site’s dense foliage. The black and white surface texture along the site boundary is a rendition of tribal patterns and illustration techniques in Kenya, but abstracted through a pixelation of brickwork. Windows are recessed within the surface of the façade shading classrooms and learning spaces. Communal seating spaces are also set within the depth of the brickwork, activating edges of the building. The walls inscribing the central court are finished in a contrast of colour, an individuality of expression for each building within the complex. Homes – The homes emphasise traditional settlement patterns. The residences are deconstructed into rooms clustered around individual courtyards, and nested within a pergola-like framework that shades walkways and allows the fragmentary living conditions and an outdoor area to be cohesively grouped. It encourages a network of social spaces between families / residents. Sustainability – Ideas of environmental and social sustainability are embedded throughout the project which is delivered through passive techniques. The deep external walls of the building are used as insulation, providing thermal mass. The separation of buildings channel wind through the site while providing shade to the lane-ways. The roofs collect rainwater with the possibility for some sections to include photo-voltaic panels. The primary material for construction is local brick, one that can sustain local communities through the sourcing and construction of the project.