LocationKomsliga Department, Burkina Faso
PhotographyCourtesy of Albert Faus
Surface Areas122,00 m2 + 25,50 m2 (terrace)
Budget12,6 MILLION FCFA (19.300 €)
Text description provided by the architects. The program is resolved in a unique volume. The construction of the shelves along the perimeter gives more thickness to the walls as it liberates interior space, setting the reading tables in the center. The administration and storage spaces are separated by a small wall that doesn’t reach the ceiling.
The structure consists of a mixed system combining load bearing walls and BTC (compressed-soil brick) pillars, produced near the site. These bricks are also used for the definition of the ceiling of the room, supported by stressed ø10mm rebars embedded in the reinforced concrete beams. The superior pitched roof frees the exterior walls from direct solar radiation and quickly evacuates rainwater. It is composed of galvanized corrugated plates for the straight portions and a translucent plastic corrugated plate for the central curved portion.
The KATIOU Foundation had stored a few polycarbonate panels in the village, coming from the deconstruction of a veranda in Madrid. In order to benefit from the entire stock, the window+skylight module was designed according to the dimension of the panels and the BTC brick.
In buildings with budgets as tights as in this one, the frames are usually metallic and simple, without any kind of glass, regulating interior lighting and ventilation with adjustable slats. Having many windows along the façade doesn’t automatically guarantee a good level of light inside. Indeed, the site’s demanding and changing climatic conditions, the amount of dust in the air, its warmth, storms with 45° rain, or the dropping temperatures in December (here, 25°C already gives you a sensation of coolness), show that the slats protecting the windows are partially or totally shut during great part of the year, implying the use of artificial lighting in the reading rooms even during the day.
Besides, in Burkina Faso, one of the poorest countries in the world, the interruptions of electric supply are a daily issue.
Therefore, natural illumination –and ventilation- are enhanced through openings that reuse the polycarbonate panels, translucent and insulating. The windows are arranged along the South and North facades and on the ceiling, with the construction of large operable skylights of the same width. The light passes through the translucent plastic plates of the superior roof first and is then filtered by the polycarbonate panels, giving the skylights an aspect of great ceilings of diffuse light, ideal for reading.
At sunset, when the daylight dims and the artificial light is turned on, young students sit outside the library, at the foot of the windows, using the building’s light to do their homework from school.