BETWEEN THE TREES
SCHOOL IN MALAWI
In collaboration with Amalia Varesi
and Gisela Olguin Rodriguez
Situated almost halfway the two townships, 60 km south of Nkhotakota and 50 km north of Salima, next to a tar road, the compound - in analogy with the local building tradition - is set as a boulder in the landscape.
The initial point of the project was to keep the existing trees and even plant new ones, as they are vital for filtering sun, dust and noise, having a softening and calming effect on the learning environment. Aiming to provide a pleasant environment for students, the new secondary school and student dormitories are arranged between large courtyards, where students may gather and relax in the shades of existing and newly planted trees.
In order to create a quiet and safe study environment for the students, the buildings have no outward facing openings, but they are oriented towards the inner patios. The perforated brick walls and the wickerwork doors of the main entrance to the school form a filter between the interior and the exterior. The main entrance is also a patio created around a tree and it is enhanced by the vast height of the multi-purpose hall which becomes a reference point on the main facade.
Whereas the dormitories are kept on the side as a separate unit to provide more privacy, the dining room is given a more open area in the project. Since this space offers a moment to everyone to gather around a table and share a meal or so, this space would be the junction point among the different spaces of the compound (classrooms, dormitories, library, etc.).