Earth Consultant: BC studies
Cooperation: Isabelle Verhoeven, Bregt Hoppenbrouwers, Tommaso Bisogno, Christopher Weijchert
Client: The community of Ouled Merzoug and the Goodplanet Foundation
Budget: 35.000 € (VAT excl.)
Text description provided by the architects. In need of educational infrastructure, Goodplanet foundation aims to install a preschool with bioclimatic functioning, as an extension to the existing school building. The building is inspired by a new vernacular from local typologies, materials, and techniques, with a contemporary look, performant bio-climatic functioning and earthquake-proof design.
The preschool of Ouled Merzoug has foundations of locally sourced natural stone, with adobe walls, a wood-and-earth flat roof. The exterior finishing is done with a "timeless" render, a mix of 2 earths, straw and sand, while the interior finishing is made of polished "nouss-nouss", a "half-half" of earth and gypsum to create a breathable interior plaster which diffuses indirect sunlight.
The southeast and northwest façades which have harsh low-sun impacts are protected by tree or courtyard shadows, while the south façade has a cavity wall for insulation and a big thermal mass, making the building cool during the day, but warmer through the night until the morning.
The classroom links to two courtyards, one on each side. Both courtyards can be read as the playground for the smaller ones (3-6 years) but can be used as an external classroom for storytelling and other activities. These courtyards are elevated due to the topography of the site and link to a bigger front garden giving access to the rest of the school.