Chakour Studios is aiming to provide creative and comfortable spaces for children where they can learn and play using modular design that offers flexibility and ease. Depending on where the pod is used, the user can plug in various materials based on local functional requirements, climate, cost and regional availability. Called Plug n Play, the very first building will be situated within the grounds of Tsast Altai school in the west of Mongolia, where the module will be designed to take advantage of local conditions and materials. Once completed, the space will host 100 pupils in an environmentally-friendly space that can withstand the extreme Mongolian climate.
Pre-engineered metal pipes and fittings are used to provide framework to the module, providing modularity and flexibility, and additional panels can be installed as needed. Wood-wool floor panels are used to retain heat radiated from the central heating system – which is deployed beneath the wood floor for radiative heating – since wood widely available in the region and wool is a local product.
Adobe bricks, additional wood-wool panels and doubly glazed polycarbonate form the walling system for the module. Corrugated sheet and waterproof canvas with wool in-fill are used to form the roofing system using a layering technique to maximize thermal retention within the structure. A solar collector is added to the roof to further increase the heat intake from the south. Additionally, the roof traps the heat from the glazed facade during the afternoon hours and radiates it to the space below throughout the day. Finally, the facade traps the heat which is stored in the high thermal-mass layer and which is then radiated to the inner spaces.
The “play” portion of the module takes the form of a large playground at the entrance followed by an enclosed courtyard that can double up as an open classroom. This leads to an informal spill-out that is bathed in the southern sun.
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