Text description provided by the architects. The Scarcity and Creativity Studio (SCS) is a design build studio whose focus is on the translation from drawings to building. The studio’s main aim is to expose students to the full architectural process, from interacting with clients to building their designs. The design process is organized as an architectural competition amongst students. They start producing individual proposals, and in a process of gradual eliminations, arrive at the project with most potential that is the one that is built.
The program for this building was for a classroom and a small library/study area, in a rural part of Kilifi, Kenya. These requirements plus the study of comfort in an equatorial climates, the vernacular architecture of the area, and the available local materials have been the factors that have shaped this project.
The site was located in a natural clearing amongst vegetation. The climate required a shaded but very open space through which the breezes could flow freely. The classroom is separated from the library by a shaded courtyard, open, on one side, towards the school’s common outdoor area, and to the other side a natural outdoor teaching area under an enormous tree. The 10% slope of the site is used to create a stepped classroom to facilitate student contact with the teacher, and to drain the roof into two 5000 litres water tanks.
The two main contributions that this project makes are social and typological.
The classroom and library built by SCS are a significant contribution to free education in a country in which even state education costs cannot be afforded by a significant portion of the population. The costs of the building materials were funded through donations from architectural firms in Oslo.
The project proposes a new typology for a tropical classroom, one which is very different from the standard state school buildings in Kenya. The building provides: shaded spaces for both indoor and outdoor teaching; it maximizes natural ventilation, especially the breezes coming from outdoor shaded areas; it provide the option of indoor and outdoor teaching; it integrates water collection from rainwater in a country declared ‘drought disaster area’ by the United Nations