The Morogoro International School, located in the southern highlands of Tanzania, serves as a model for sustainability and modular architecture for society. With the idea of having the school simultaneously serve as a community hub, Alma-nac architects believed they could achieve this best through their repeating linear form with an emphasis on environmental control strategies. More images and architects’ description after the break.
Designed to extend in multiple phased sections, this 100 bed dormitory passively controls its environment utilizing only local construction methods and materials. In keeping with the MIS mentality of the school as a community hub, we aimed to develop a sustainable architecture that wouldn’t require expensive equipment or active components. In this way, the scheme provides an example of a form-led sustainable architecture that can serve as a model of construction for the local region.
The repeating linear form was developed from the clear brief constraints and the intense environmental conditions. Laid out to minimize the higher heat gains typical of east and west facades, the form was then broken down in both plan and section, providing both a high level of natural ventilation but also an easily phased construction. These breaks in the length of the building in turn create spaces that can be explored by the inhabitant and form smaller, more personal communal spaces for the pupils to make their own.
The plan provides as much passive control as possible, both environmentally and programmatically. Central to the design is the dining space, both acting as a main locus for the scheme but also as a natural division between the girl’s and the boy’s accommodation. Entrance to the building is channelled past staff accommodation and classrooms, automatically controlling access during the day and night, and providing a gradient from public to private space. WC provisions are shared between the public and the private spaces, with a simple rotating partition controlling the time of use, and thus the privacy of the inhabitants.
The building re-uses its grey water, can be adapted to incorporate solar panels if required and can even be extended should the school population require. The simple repeated phases of construction keep the amount of design complexity to a minimum, ensuring faster construction time and lower costs. Through the use of simple folding louvres, the design closes down during the day while pupils are at school – minimizing heat gain. It then opens fully in the early evening, providing complete freedom to circulate in and out of the building through the common areas. At night, the louvres maintain full ventilation whilst providing complete security.