School design is more or less a complex problem to deal with. It is a strategic process of creating a pedagogical environment without losing the essence of a recreational and entertaining environment. Understanding the psychology of children with different age-groups and sometimes even special abilities, school designing becomes a challenge to cater to all the needs and respond to context. In rural areas, schools become the only source of learnings; social, economic, linguistic, geographical, and whatnot. There are some outstanding examples of rural schools that don’t only have educational and playful character but also respond to the vernacular approach of construction, serving a beautiful aura of learning.
1. Gando Primary School
Architects: Kéré Architecture
Area: 310 m²
The project was initiated to fill the gap of resources Architect Francis Kere had to face in his childhood. The unavailability of schools resulted in building an eco-friendly vernacular structure for the children of his town: Burkina Faso; landlocks in West Africa which stood as an inspiration for further sustainable development around. The building was a result of community architecture responding to cost, climate, and lack of resources. Using a clay/mud hybrid structure, the roof was a large overhanging tin with perforated openings to support proper ventilation. In 2004, the project won the aga khan award, flourished educational life without losing the context yet responding to climate.
2. Dipshikha METI School in Bangladesh
Architects: Anna Heringer & Eike Roswag
Area: 325 m²
Bangladesh has been rich in earth and bamboo construction and so is this handmade METI school by Anna Heringer & Eike Roswag. The architect’s vision was to create a free open forum of the learning environment to accommodate social activities and empower young minds to use their skills to develop their rural surroundings. Earth walls of the ground floor stand over the brick foundations while in contrast the first floor is designed of bamboo, creating a fragile environment and letting the sunlight in through the gaps. Introducing colors to the doors and playful holes build an inviting character for the children of Rudrapur.
3. Shiroles Rural School
Architect: Elisa Marin and Manfred Barboza
Year: March 2012
Built for the agricultural community of the Costa Rican region. The context was to support the Shiroles ideology of living, “the reservation for the country’s indigenous people”. Building materials are timber; brought from the nearest forest and corrugated metal sheet available in town itself. 8,000$ was the budget per classroom including finishes. The materials were used keeping future reachability in mind.
4. Mulan Primary School
Architects: Rural Urban Framework
Area: 503 m²
The brief was an extension of already running a primary school. The design introduced 6 new classrooms with punctured open spaces as courtyards. To enhance recreational activities and initiate a productive reading environment, an individual open space was incorporated for the library. The vertical movement of the building makes an interesting continuation that later becomes the roof of the floors.
5. Tongjiang Primary School in Rural China
Architects: Joshua Bolchover – John Lin
Area: 1096 m²
Located in Jiangxi Province, a region of south-east China, the project was introduced with already built constraints. An extension of primary school was constructed using the building waste available nearby. Responding to the hot climate, the roof was molded with brick waste and rubble to keep the interior thermally cool in summers and recites heat during winters. Bricks are arranged with a perforated pattern for better ventilation. The facade has vertical concrete fins, helps in reducing heat inlet and sizes vary according to the functions. Incorporating courtyards and open spaces help in achieving the major goal of enhancing community participation and creating an adaptive educational environment.
6. Chaparral Rural School
Architects: Plan:b Arquitectos
Area: 995 m²
Colors juxtaposing with greenery around, the Chaparral school’s design is as simple to understand as it looks. Designed for the children of farmers of the land of chaparral. Materials used are earthy colored concrete blocks for walls while floors are constructed with concrete and stone flooring, fences use iron bars and ramps and stairs in the playground area designed for vertical movement, Southern side is linked with the roads hence is filled purely, while the northern side is open to cherish the mountain beauty.
7. Baan Huay Sarn Yaw- Post Disaster School
Architects: Vin Varavarn Architects
As a part of D4D (Design for Disasters), the school design initiation was taken to overcome an earthquake in Chiang Rai, Thailand which affected more than 2k students. The brief was to design an earthquake-resistant structure with low-cost materials and easy techniques with available labors. Each classroom has a foyer for children to keep their shoes and to create a void for reducing noise. A corridor inside the building functions for better connectivity and natural materials enhances the process of building them. Incorporation of bamboo shelves to keep plants over brought nature inside and filled the space with joy and refreshments.
8. Khyaung School in Cambodia
Architects: Building Trust international, Weston Williamson + Partners
Area: 440 m²
The aim was to design a spatial character empowering innovative minds and maximizing internal and external spaces with low maintenance. The designs of verandas at the front give groups of children the opportunity to perform multiple activities. Cross ventilation is maintained by high ceilings with brick gaps in the walls. A shaded small amphitheater just in front of the spaces provides a communal gathering space and enhances the quality of life. Bright colors bring a sense of belongingness in the minds of children and hence builds a better place to get educated.
9. Productive rural school: the first stage
Architects: rural digital baccalaureate no. 186 + communal: architecture workshop
Location: tepetzintla, sierra northeast of Puebla
first stage area: 192 sqm
total project area: 1,530 sqm
Initiation by the students of rural Mexico collaborated with local NGOs gave birth to this vernacular structure. The material used is bamboo, bricks, and concrete. The students wanted to create a learning structure from which occupants can learn and teach. Planning involved the introduction of new spaces like kitchen gardens and labs to make medicines and syrups. The initiative turned into an enormous space, giving rise to the next level construction, and hence the second stage is under construction.
10. Rane Vidyalaya CBSE school
Architects: Shanmugam Associates
Area: 5000 m²
A smooth-walled structure built in the Theeram Malayalam; a town in southern rural India is inspired by Thirunallar temple’s walls of the 6th century merging with the cross houses of the region. The aim was to reflect the values of Rane and build a mass that has a social and educational impact on the region. The series of open spaces created helps in better cross-ventilation supported by the windows over lintel heightened walls. The use of local materials i.e. red solid bricks, baked earth tiles, terracotta jali, and grey fly ash bricks, helps in maintaining the thermal comfort. The central courtyard, taken for ancient south Indian temples with the purpose of huge gatherings becomes a meaningful space to perform multiple activities. The project with contextual values responded perfectly to cater to the need of natural daylight and airflow.