School in Mali, Africa. Balaguina project




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School in Mali, Africa. Balaguina project Balaguina village is located in the Dogon region, Mali, UNESCO heritage listed since 1986, but strongly penalised by a lack of investments. The project, promoted by Dutch association dogononderwijs is based on the idea that school education can promote social development.

Dogon is a marginal region in Mali, in the western Sahel zone, with its own strong identity and culture. The project for the school starts from this foundation, built according to community tradition and indigenous materials, using locally pressed mud brick, therefore falling within AKTC’s Rehabilitation of Earth Architecture Program.

The village inhabitants decided to locate the school outside the village near a well that supplies water to the facility; this location makes it the school for everyone, with the village itself reserved for the families and for religious worship. The school is positioned along the road, making it easy to get to from nearby villages and it can hold up to 200 students.

The entire community was involved in the decision-making process as well as in the actual building work. On the one hand, this choice gives the community a sense of belonging to the facility and on the other, it makes the most of local labour, encouraging the development of their own architectural languag.

The climate, with temperatures often soaring above 40°C, required design solutions to guarantee comfort of the students. The choice was to use local mud brick for the roof instead of the more common corrugated steel, combining this with verandas on both sides and ventilation pipes.

In addition to the school, lodgings for the teachers were also built to the same criteria, creating a real education complex at the gates of Balanguina.

Project Primary school and housing for teachers
Architects Prof. Joop van Stigt, ir. Jurriaan van Stigt
Client Foundation Dogon Education
Contractor Amatigue Dara, realization in collaboration with students of the Technical School in Sévaré and inhabitants of Balaguina
Commission 2011
Construction 2011-2012
Photography Foundation Dogon Education
Website http://www.dogononderwijs.nl 


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