New York-based SHoP Architects has unveiled plans to build 50 solar-powered, disaster-proof schools in the Nepalese regions hit hardest by the April 25 earthquake. The design firm teamed up with nonprofits Kids of Kathmandu and Asian Friendship Network for the project, which will not only replace lost schools but also offer improved infrastructure that can work off-grid and even, in some cases, provide electricity and clean water to neighboring villages.
SHoP Architects designed the schools to be as flexible and adaptable as possible to varying terrains and needs. The structures are made from an easily assembled kit of parts comprising readily available local materials such as earth brick, which provides stabilizing thermal mass. The earthquake-resistant schools will be set atop concrete slab foundations and erected with steel truss roof systems angled upwards to promote natural ventilation.
In addition to solar panels, the schools will be equipped with integrated water purification systems, new kitchen facilities, and donated computers. Walls are intentionally left blank to encourage community members to establish ownership of the space through mural art. The buildings can also double as community centers during after-hours, and serve as safe havens in times of emergency.
“When Kids of Kathmandu approached up, we were enthralled and immediately began to brainstorm possible design solutions,” said SHoP, according to ArchDaily. “We will also be sharing the architectural designs online to assist other groups and communities in building safe and responsible schools without the added expense of architecture and engineering planning. This is really a kit of parts that can serve communities everywhere in times of need.” Construction on SHoP’s first two schools is expected to begin in early 2016.
Images via SHoP Architects