As an Architect there are some key takeaways from the previous post on the Rwandan School project.
- Alignment of rooms used in the day with respect to sun patterns tremendously bring comfort to the users at much lower energy expenditure. When rooms used in the day are aligned, such that longer side of rooms are parallel to the north-south axis and ventilated with windows on these sides, the rooms are cooler and even in hot African regions a simple ceiling fan would be enough to bring down the rooms temperatures to a comfortable level. There aren’t even fans in these rooms a true testament to the Architecture.
- Windows at the seating level to bring in the fresher cooler air that is available closer to the soil and vents on the roof to expel the hot air that rises in the rooms
- Several small courts, sports and play areas planned, encouraging the children into community sports and play which is very critical for children to develop social, ethical and team skills to grow into well rounded adults capable of any challenge and contributing back to the development of the community.
Choosing materials that insulate the interiors from the exterior harsh elements is also very key in keeping the interiors comfortable. Also choosing materials indigenous to the local environment is key to keeping the construction green and sustainable.
- The firm has used thatch locally available to insulate the rooms from the heat gain on the low cost metal prefab roofing panels. Thatch is held with bamboo sticks. Image below of the village women tying the bamboo sticks together for the roof.
- The walls are in simple locally made exposed bricks, beautifully laid and the mortar joints finished well. Paint and plastering costs as well as all the chemicals that exude from these done away with by this simple choice. Also the walls can easily be washed down with soap & water when dusty instead of repainting, making maintenance doable for a low budget government school.
- The play fences in locally procured bamboo shoots, beautifully assembled in curvi – linear forms.