Designer: Technical University of Berlin Chair in Construction + Design Prof. Ralf Pasel
Project Manager: Franziska Sack, Lorena Valdivia, Johannes Zix
Team: Arch. Students of Tech. University of Berlin
Client: Fundacion Cristo Vive Bolivia
Text description provided by the architects. The agricultural school building has been developed and realised by CODE - the department of architectural design and construction of Prof. Pasel at the Technische Universität Berlin. In an international collaboration with the ecumenical foundation Fundación Cristo Vive Bolivia that works on poverty reduction in Latin America, CODE has developed and implemented the new school building in a two year process. Under supervision of Prof. Pasel and his team 40 students have designed, planned and realised the project together with local partners. The school building is part of the vocational school “Sayarinapaj” that offers young Bolivian students coming from rural Andean areas a professional perspective within the field. Result of the first design and construction phase is a building that is based on a modular concept offering six flexible classrooms. It consists of three massive volumes each of them comprising two classrooms and an additional space that serves as an archive, a laboratory or an installation room for the integrated solar plant. One continuous shed roof structure covers the whole building including two intermediate open air spaces between the volumes to ensure natural ventilation. These ‘in between spaces’ allow for the connection of two classrooms into a larger multi-functional room. With simple but effective means the building responds to the extreme climatic conditions. The massive brick masonry compensates the daily fluctuation of temperature, thus allowing for a comfortable indoor climate. The ventilated roof construction prevents the classrooms from overheating. Its orientation ensures adequate supply of daylight in the classrooms and the optimal declination of the roof for the integration of the solar system.
In order to convey skills all players are integrated in the design and building process.
As the project is based on an integrative approach to architecture the relevant factors include both the architectural product and the multi-layered process of its creation considering technical, social, cultural and academic aspects. Being developed by an international and interdisciplinary collaboration of experts, students and craftsmen/-women from both Germany and Bolivia the mutual transfer of knowledge between academia and practice, between the two cultures and between the different disciplines is consequently one of the superior characteristics of the project. As it is set up as a design-build project it additionally allows for the combination of theory, research and practice in the project work.
The indoor climate is being enhanced by the temperature-regulating solid brick structure.
In terms of the architecture the overall task was to create a low-cost and energy efficient, climate responsive and resource saving building that would serve as a supportive learning environment and as a case study for sustainable building developments in low-tech environments, innovation and intelligent low-cost construction methods. The Special construction method in brick replaces common concrete skeleton structures and allows for a building process without an professional entrepreneur that is both cost efficient and earthquake proof.
Last but not least the building was designed in such a way that it could be self-build and constructed under the preconditions of “auto-construction”, which form 98% of the local building activities.
Knowledge transfer leads to further qualification of the local community and the students.
One of the main social aspects of the project is that not only Bolivian and German students were involved into the construction work but also a local cooperative of women working already as bricklayers. With this project they were able to broaden their skills and subsequently apply their newly acquired knowledge of innovative building techniques to their own work. The women will in return train the skills of the next generation of students in the second building phase, that comprise the development of a boarding school for the agronomy campus. By this, an iterative process of knowledge transfer and service learning is commenced that will in the course of years lead to a further qualification of both, the local community and our students.