Savanna Sunshade

Type: Idea for a sustainable primary school in Savanna
Client: Competition
Location: Africa
Status: Settled
Project Author: Maria Fradinho
Team: Rafael Morais
Project Date: 2015
Plot Area: 350 m2
Implantation Area: 100 m2
Construction Area: 10 m2

This project is designed for 10 countries of the African Savanna – tropical region where climatic characteristics define that the type of constructions must be protected from the intense heat while conditioning water – as it admits between 7-10 months a year of drought.

Environmental and landscape features asked for the creation of an external roof, that ensured sunscreen coverage for school and it’s surrounding area.
The landscape of the African Savanna is marked by specific elements, united by vast areas of pasture. The influence on exceptional irregular morphology, including hills, where the cylindrical and conical shapes are reference at the horizon, inspires the outer cover of Savanna Sunshade that is embodied in a cylindrical shape, providing a protection zone to the interior but also to the surroundings of the school. This dome shape is, furthermore, suggested in the set of small buildings, arranged in dispersed ways throughout the existent territory.

As a concern to optimize costs and production/construction methods the material is metallic, to be lightweight and durable, but painted brown, to camouflage with the prominent wood materials in the region. This way the architectural piece is harmoniously inserted into the surrounding natural environment. The structure is materialized by radial shapes, creating a cover design inspired in nature, as some existing cactus per example, and it is composed of smaller prefabricated parts, which are assembled in place, optimizing the transport and construction systems. This coverage is also the support for solar protection elements, but also solar energy production. Photovoltaic panels maintain the building through adequate equipment, installed at the school storage.

Finally, this type of external roof avoids the need to cover the windows, allowing clear views from inside to the outside.
The school, on the other hand, is a set of two buildings connected by an entrance space. These simple constructions provide comfort and versatility of space to be used depending on needs, also ensuring the satisfaction of all requirements for the intended use.

The natural lighting and ventilation in all compartments certifies the necessary living conditions, where the minimum ceiling height of 3.5m assume a leading role in wholesome relationship between these elements. A movable wall, screen type that retracts easily, unifies the two spaces of the classrooms, whenever needed. The outdoor space that is sun protected is able to use for outdoor classes, to practice sports, for planting gardens and for free recreational areas.
The underground technique area consists on a system that ensures the storage of rainwater, while making the separation of sewage to seize the grey water to irrigate the surrounding soil of the school, making it more fertile.