Dutch architects Joop and Jurriaan van Stigt from Dogon Onderwijs (Dogon Education) recently led a school construction project in the remote Dogon region of Mali. Although resources were very scarce, the designers built the shelters from a widely available material: earth blocks. The construction process provided a workshop environment where local villagers could learn about earth block building techniques, and the resulting buildings pay homage to local traditional design.
The new school replaces an old one on the same site and is attended by kids from three villages in the area. Completely made from compressed earth blocks with a layer of waterproof cement, the shelters were designed to maximize air flow and natural ventilation, helping them to remain cool inside while outdoor temperatures can reach as high as 45°C.
The use of earth blocks enables the school to seamlessly integrate into the surrounding environment. The buildings were built with the help of local villagers in the tradition local Dogon architecture. The use of wood was rejected because native hardwood is scarce in the area and because termites would likely destroy the buildings.
Photos by Dogon Education