As an aftermath of natural disasters, viruses and wars, in society, we often require emergency architecture. In this round-up, we explore how emergency architecture can accommodate educational needs and how it can bring together a community that has suffered social and economic hardship.
Emergency architecture can occur under a variety of circumstances and through the recent COVID-19 pandemic we have started to get a glimpse of the urgency for certain types of architecture across the world. What we sometimes take for granted in regards to socialising — a sense of community and access to quality education — some countries go without for large periods of time due to natural disasters, viruses and war.
There are a variety of design proposals for school architecture out there, but it is not always common practice that the architects get to put these designs into place, with a lack of funding/donations and volunteered help. It is important within these communities that the school as a prototype can also act as a community contributor for the area in which it is located as well as a learning facility for the children. The projects below are examples where architects provide solutions for education accessibility for areas that are in need of it most, following hardship.
In West Africa, in 2014, the first Ebola virus outbreak rapidly became the deadliest occurrence of the virus since 1976. West Africa, already a country with economic and social challenges was largely affected in regards to its development and growth through the recent outbreak of the Ebola virus. Architects Orkidstudio, designed a school for girls in the country’s eastern province of Kenema and the architecture aims to inspire and educate the young women within the area. The school also extends to the community, providing up to seventy jobs for individuals within the locality and is similarly a learning facility for the community as well as the children. The Ebola outbreak had an effect on the country’s social and economic outcome, allowing architects to reflect on how we can create designs to help rebuild a community when the damage is not to the existing buildings as such but to the economy/society.
When the wind destroyed the only school in the area within the rural village in Ghana, architects Andrea Tabocchini and Francesca Vittorini, created the non‐profit project ‘InsideOut’ School. The proposal was constructed within 60 days and cost just over 12,000 euros with the help of the local community and volunteers from 20 different countries. The design aims to use local materials due to a lack of resources and blurs the boundaries between architecture and the landscape, where the architecture aims to provide alternative solutions to traditional classrooms. Natural disasters often leave destruction behind with them and towns and cities have to be rebuilt. How can we design solutions that allow for flexible designs to account for these type of scenarios and the aftermath that follows?
The primary school located in Gando, Africa was designed by Kéré Architecture due to a lack of schools within the area. It was constructed through the support of the local community and funds that were raised through the charity foundation, ‘Schulbausteine fuer Gando’ (Bricks for Gando). The school, having been built by the local villagers, represents a sense of community and allows the school to become a community beacon for the area. The school is an example of how the utilisation of local materials/techniques can bring a community together. Construction and maintenance were simplified so that the whole community could assist with the building proposal.
During Peru’s Internal Armed Conflict of the 1990s, the native Ashaninka community of Union Altosanibeni was abandoned. After eight years, the community returned to the area but lived in abandonment for twenty years. The new proposal of the school in Tanquin Peru by Semillas, not only acts as an educational facility for 200 children within the community but also becomes a community contributor for more than 1000 inhabitants of the region. The layout of the design distributes the program around the multi‐purpose area, which also acts as a space for the community.
In the recent pandemic of COVID-19 we begin to start questioning what will education look like for schools and universities moving forward and how can we as architects assist with this.