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St Kizito School, Namungoona, Kampala, Uganda

Part 1 Project 2011
Owen Thomas Harrison
London Metropolitan University, UK
‘St Kizito, Namungoona’ is an ongoing live project involving the design of a new primary school in the suburbs of Kampala, Uganda, on the site of the current inadequate school. The scheme consists of seven primary classrooms, an early years centre, a modified ventilated improved pit (VIP) toilet system, a kitchen and canteen, a variety of communal outdoor spaces and a large assembly hall. The new school, construction of which is due to start this year, will be funded by New York based NGO Bula Inc.

The existing school buildings, constructed over the last 20 years, are of very poor quality; with a dirt floor, insufficient natural light and a shortage of adequate space or facilities, the school building is actively impeding the quality of education provided.
The new design aims to address these issues and attempts to deal with a number of key objectives for both design and construction; to provide an accessible, inclusive school building, to provide a design which is appropriate for its climatic context and to make innovative use of local materials and developing technologies. As well as designing an exemplary piece of architecture, which will be aesthetically and functionally appropriate, the design must also be economical to construct with the use of local labour and materials.

Issues of language and literacy amongst the local workforce led to the production of a manual (prepared as part of the design portfolio). This 10 page document contained a series of visual instructions for the creation of prototype constructional elements, which were built in Uganda by a local craftsmen and tested on location.

By maintaining an open dialogue between designer, maker and user, the design gradually emerged as a synergy between current ‘best practice’ classroom design, site specific conditions, the exacting programmatic requirements of a Ugandan school and climatic conditions.

The design aims to bring together all of these considerations to produce a space that is not only pragmatic and considered, but one that would enrich the day to day life of the pupils and the local community.

Owen Thomas Harrison


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