The Library of Muyinga is a light-filled educational facility for deaf children in Burundi that is built from locally-sourced compressed earth. The result of a collaboration between Belgian studio BC Architects and the local community, it is the first building within a larger initiative to build a new school for deaf children. Vernacular architectural practices were reinterpreted to meet modern requirements for educational spaces, which includes cozy sitting arrangements and huge hammocks where kids can read their favorite books.
The construction process was preceded by two months of research and fieldwork, which enabled the architects to incorporate local know-how and traditions of Muyinga province. Studying the region’s traditional architecture gave valuable insights into local materials and building technologies and the team then adjusted a five-year-old template found on the OpenStructures network to fit the local weather conditions and customs.
Rammed earth blocks, used for the walls, were produced using old compressor machines and positioned to create rows of columns that frame the porch. This space serves as the area for gatherings and resting and plays an important part in the communal life of Muyinga. Glass partitions separate the porch from the interior space and allow it to function as an extension of the library. Along the other axis it leads towards the street. In line with Burundian architectural tradition, the walls are lower on the side of the squares and playground, and higher on the street side-a principle introduced to guarantee safety.
The interior is dominated by playfully arranged furniture where kids can enjoy their favorite books, including large hammocks suspended from the ceiling. The building itself acts as an educational tool-it teaches children about truly sustainable practices and the importance of collaboration in the effort to build green.