Educational village: learning through nature

MAHAMAT TALBA, Nankeng Erica Reine , Bambourbo Makoal Raoul , Bekada Owana Frank Loïc
École nationale supérieure des travaux publics Yaoundé

Idea projektu

« Educational village: learning through nature »

Access to quality education is an essential prerequisite if each individual is to achieve his or her full potential and make a positive contribution to the development of society. It is therefore imperative to guarantee access to quality education for all, regardless of social or economic class. However, in some
regions of Senegal, this fundamental right is not guaranteed. Nevertheless, certain peoples have
developed a unique cultural approach to education, such as the Diolas, who live in the lower
Casamance region and have a strong presence in the Kaguitte village where our project is based. The Diolas place great importance on passing on knowledge and have developed an education based on observing and learning from nature. So, in reference to Diola culture, our project communicates intimately with its environment through the use of natural materials, lush gardens and open outdoor spaces for relaxation and learning. The plants and trees create a forest-like environment that also
provides rich and varied sensory experiences that stimulate the children's curiosity and creativity. All this while improving their mental and physical health for their personal and intellectual growth.
Vegetable gardens are also integrated to enable children to develop their relationship with the earth and food, while growing fresh, healthy vegetables.

Popis projektu

The design of a quality school and access to education transcends the individual and the infrastructure
concerned to encompass the whole community. The project is designed to be integrated into the local community, and is intended to be inclusive and interactive, creating a sense of belonging, cooperation and collective responsibility. A buffer zone has been created, made up of multifunctional spaces designed to jointly host community and school events such as the Multipurpose, library, canteen, workshop and sports facilities. The school thus becomes a public space for all members of the community to meet and exchange ideas, strengthening social ties and providing an environment conducive to the development of children's full potential. Teachers would therefore be trained to take account of nature and interactions with it in order to stimulate and promote children's natural curiosity.
The layout of the project reflects the Senegalese community housing model. Volumes are judiciously distributed to suggest movement, orientation and displacement, immersing the children in a journey of discovery, experiential learning and self-expression. The school is designed with a playful approach
to enable pupils to learn while having fun, breaking away from the rigid precepts of formal education.
This approach optimises the active involvement of all members of the community in the education and development of the younger generation. The primary spaces are malleable and open, suitable for innovative teaching methods, and interwoven with quiet, intimate areas for meditation, as well as collaborative work spaces. Our primary school project therefore embodies a vision of education in
which architecture plays a crucial role in creating an environment conducive to learning and to the
personal and psychological development of children, while strengthening social ties and the
participation of the whole community.

Technické informace

Materials :

Traditional Senegalese architecture is characterised by the use of simple, natural materials such as
earth, which creates a subtle harmony between the buildings and their environment. It was precisely this symbiosis that motivated our decision to use the ancestral rammed earth technique for our project. Our aim was to create a sober architectural style, imbued with a deep cultural link with the site. The choice of vernacular construction techniques and simple assembly also reflects our ambition
to encourage a participatory construction process in close collaboration with the community, builders and local craftsmen, as well as reducing the cost of the project. The earth walls serve as structural supports while providing thermal comfort for the children and acoustic insulation. The lightweight, durable bamboo frame supports the corrugated metal roof. The sheeting is highly resistant to the elements, including torrential rain and direct sunlight, and its ability to be fixed and
modified quickly makes it an ideal material for the project. The delicate ribs of a mixed wood and bamboo assembly are laid over the earth walls. They provide natural ventilation and optimum lighting, while filtering out the intense sunlight that bathes Kaguitte.


The project has been designed using a modular structural grid, allowing for future expansion in line with evolving teaching requirements, while maintaining a harmonious balance with the surrounding context. Construction begins with levelling the site and creating a solid base consisting of a layer of compacted gravel and tamped earth, with concrete beams embedded to provide a robust, weather-
resistant structure. A composite wall with a stone base built on top of the concrete beams with earth as a second layer, to avoid direct contact between the earth and the concrete and prevent the risk of damp infiltration. The monolithic walls, which act as the structural elements, are shaped using a wooden formwork and are connected at the top by concrete beams. At this stage, the mixed wood and bamboo ribs, folding doors and wooden windows will be manufactured on site and installed.
Finally, the corrugated sheets will be assembled and fixed to form the roof over the structural
elements, bamboo trusses and purlins that have already been fixed in place. The roofs of the various volumes are interconnected by an underground system for collecting rainwater, which is channelled to wells nestling in attractive natural oasis, creating a harmonious ecosystem. The assembly processes for building the school are therefore simple and intuitive. The construction technique chosen will
ensure easy maintenance over the long term.


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