The objective of this project is two-fold: the first is to create a centre for community development that includes a residential school, vocational training centre and primary health centre, focusing on enhancing knowledge and skills within the local population so that they can make the best use of their available resources. The second is to create a replicable model of community participation for creating other social infrastructure in the region to strengthen their sense of identity.
The brief has three primary programs namely a residential school for 400 students, a small medical centre and a space for vocational training.
Four thick parallel walls built using locally sourced laterite stone give the space its form. Aligned along the slope of the terrain these walls define the structure and shape of the complex. The footprint is limited to 45 x 135 meters, leaving most of the site in its natural state.
The building is oriented along the North-South axis, and the roof has a substantial overhang to reduce the amount of sunlight received by the walls. The laterite walls also serve as the primary structure for defining movement routes, open courts, and access to the complex.
The linear volumes between parallel walls house various programmatic requirements like classrooms, student dormitories and extensive facilities. The light roofs float above the parallel walls, allowing fresh air to flow freely between the roof and the ceiling, leaving walls with apertures as a possible façade. Controlled views of the landscape through staggered openings are a feature of the plan. The interior quality of the complex is shaded, fresh and airy, creating a shadowed oasis from the climate outside.
The proposal deploys low-cost construction making the most of local materials and skills, using the potential of the local community while adapting technology from the industrialised world in a simple way. Laterite stone, which is abundant in this region, is chosen as the primary building material along with a restricted palette of compressed earth bricks, structural steel truss, locally sourced wood and corrugated metal roof extrusions. Rough and untreated surfaces impart the character of the landscape into the building form.