EDUCATIONAL CENTRE IN GHANA
Our proposal ‘Sand Sprouts’ for the Educational Centre in Ghana is inspired by the rich local soil to create building forms that rise from the earth and sheltered by a delicate system of cascading roofs.
The site arrangement creates a dialogue of niche private learning spaces that link to the open social gathering areas all set amongst a community garden. At the heart of the proposal is the community hub building, which is formed of two building blocks to create an L-shaped arrangement with a shared roof cover acting as a communal canopy floating above the heavy mass building form.
The hub program includes; the classroom, administration office, dining zones, the communal kitchen, a leisure room, and the roof terrace enjoys views at the canopy level. The two building masses are connected by a semi-open sunken seating ‘amphitheater’ area that will create a niche undulation in the topography for people to socialize in a natural setting and foster connections between individuals.
An orchard garden is located at the heart of the hub area that enables the natural passage of filtered ventilation to the buildings and creates a cooling effect in the form of natural shading to the amphitheater and hub. The direct connection between the garden and teaching space will provide a learning opportunity for the children to understand the cycle of life by growing their own plants and vegetables.
The cascading canopy is constructed from locally sourced timber and bamboo a strong, resilient and fast growing alternative to the timber construction industry. The descending nature of the canopies responds to the reduction in heights of the rammed earth buildings and facilitates rainwater harvesting by incrementally reducing the volume of water during high volume downpours. An enclosed water tank is placed behind the kitchen area and dormitory building to store the rainwater and provide a sustainable filtered water supply to the site.
The material palette is carefully selected to balance cost considerations, local supply availability, and sustainability. Rammed earth is used for the walls, providing thermal insulation mass and deep set chamfered windows. Two bamboo species (Bambusa vulgaris and Bambusa Arundinacea) and locally sourced timber are chosen for the roof structure, it is a lightweight and flexible system that are readily available and the local construction industry are familiar with. The floor slab and foundations are in concrete, ensuring durability of a hardwearing surface.