The winners of the Global Holcim Awards were recently announced, and the top prize went to Diébédo Francis Kéré of Kéré Architecture for his design of a secondary school in Burkina Faso. Temperatures reach up to 40°C in the summer in the town of Gando, so cooling is absolutely necessary to create a comfortable environment for education. The town has a population of 3,000 with no secondary school, so Kéré Architecture is in the middle of constructing a smart school complex that relies on simple and effective passive cooling techniques.
Kéré Architecture is a German firm with heaps of experience around the globe specializing in beautiful and effective humanitarian designs. Diébédo Francis Kéré and his firm were recently award the 2012 Global Holcim Gold Award for their design of a secondary school in one of the world’s poorest countries, which aims to provide further education to the inhabitants of the rural area of Gando, Burkina Faso. Kéré and his team had already completed a primary school in the town, but now the children are getting older and need new facilities to continue on with their education. The school includes classrooms, a circular library, shaded courtyards and a sports field.
The new school complex takes inspiration from traditional construction and is conscious of prevailing winds and local climatic conditions. With temperatures hitting 40°C in the summer, keeping the school rooms cool is a primary concern. To provide cooling without mechanical means, the school will rely on natural ventilation cooling strategies like routing air through underground tubes, planting vegetation, and the use of double-skin roofs and façades. These strategies will achieve a 5°C thermal reduction. Rainwater will be collected for to irrigate the newly planted trees and vegetation.
After the selection of the school, the Head of Jury, Enrique Norten, TEN Arquitectos noted, “We selected a very beautiful school in Burkina Faso. It’s not only a very elegant design solution, but it’s a project that brings together the work of the community, it uses local materials, and with very simple means it creates a really fabulous environment – both from a social point of view, but also from a constructive point of view.” The Global Holcim Awards Gold 2012 will receive USD 200,000.
Photos ©Holcim Foundation