Burkina Faso School Buildings, Article 25 Africa Education Project, Secondary Design

Burkina Faso Schools – African Education Buildings

Article 25 Development Project – by Martin Spring

23 Apr 2013

‘Article 25: the built environment’s charity’

Article 25

Report by Article 25 written for www.e-architect.com

School extension takes shape in natural stone in Burkina Faso

Author: Martin Spring

Local masons are skilled at laying blocks of local laterite sandstone:
Burkina Faso Schools: African Education Buildings

Burkina Faso Schools

A keenly awaited £200,000 school extension is now visibly taking shape in Burkina Faso in West Africa, unaffected by the civil war currently waging in neighbouring Mali. The design was developed in London by Article 25 who now monitor the construction works on site. The emerging walls proudly display their local origins in rugged laterite stone blockwork that was quarried out of the ground less than five miles away.

When completed in June, the three new classroom blocks and latrines will substantially increase the size of the existing Bethel Secondary School in the provincial town of Gourcy. Bethel school is overwhelmed by local families’ demand for education, in a country that the UN Development Programme calculates suffers one of the world’s lowest literacy rates. Once enlarged, the school will be able to accept many more of the children it currently has to turn away.

New classroom and latrine blocks have will have raised roofs for cooling ventilation:
Burkina Faso School Building

The first section of wall sets the standard for masonry and metal louvred windows:
Burkina Faso School Building

The construction site has an orderliness that demonstrates capable management. This is shared between contractor Mantral and Article 25’s site representative, Kodzo Adali-Mortty; both are based in Burkina Faso’s capital, Ouagadougou, two hours drive away. Bilingual architect Adali-Mortty is an ideal intermediary between Article 25 architects in London and Mantral’s 20-strong, French-speaking construction team. He files weekly reports brimming with progress photographs and details of challenges encountered to which the London team and Mr Adali-Mortty find proposals for their solution.

One of the main challenges encountered so far has concerned the supply of laterite stone. As the stone is simply dug out of the ground nearby, it avoids the expense of concrete blocks made with imported cement and has the benefit of being denser than concrete blockwork. Laterite walls absorb much of the tropical heat that builds up in the afternoon that would otherwise make the classrooms unbearable. Some 20,000 laterite blocks are required and to meet the supply schedule Mantral subcontracted the quarrying of the stone to two teams, each comprising of 5 experienced masons. As well as masonry and laying concrete strip foundations, work on site includes a welding workshop where metal louvred shutters are assembled for windows and doors.

Rough laterite blocks from the quarry are precisely dressed to shape on site:
Burkina Faso School Building

Soon after the three classroom blocks and latrine are completed in June, construction is will start on a second phase that will include a library and sports changing facilities. The project is funded by the UK charity, Giving Africa, and the completed school will be run by the local operator, AEAD. The long-term plan is that Bethel’s new school extension should be serve as a cost-effective, environmentally friendly prototype that will be rolled out across Burkina Faso.

Metal shutters for windows and doors have adjustable louvres to control daylight and rain penetration:
Burkina Faso School Building

13 Nov 2012
Construction starts on prototype school in Burkina Faso, West Africa
Author: Martin Spring
Burkina Faso Schools

1 Nov 2011
Article 25 Project Update : Secondary Schools in Burkina Faso, West Africa
Author: Jemma Houston, Article 25 Project Architect
Burkina Faso Secondary Schools

Location: Burkina Faso, Africa

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Burkina Faso School Building images © Article 25

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