Competition: Archstorming_Senegal Elementary School “Sambou Toura Drame”
Where: Marsassoum, Sédhiou Region, Senegal.
Team: Francesco Casini, Federico Caserta, Fiamma Ficcadenti
What: New elementary school
SPECIAL HONORABLE MENTION (4th place)
This project is grounded on a fundamental thesis: architecture is not a privilege but a human right. Architecture is not just a fancy way to give form to space but the human need of organizing his relations and feelings in a spatial dimension. Based on this assumption, a school constitutes one of the most sensitive space that can be built: a school is a place that is strictly related to the way we learn to perceive space and relationships, in an age of life extremely delicate in which students’ interpersonal skills and emotional sphere are in the making. According to this perspective, the project of the new school Sambou Toura Drame is conceived around three main design actions: open central core, circular distribution of the classrooms facing each other, no resorting to the use of fences for the perimeter, it will be the architecture itself to be articulated to protect students within the school.
Concerning the morphological aspects, the building is design to generate two different space dimensions. The exterior is conceived like a squared, tectonic and monolithic red volume with the aim of becoming an actual landmark, counteracting in a dialogic relationship the surrounding buildlings and natural landscape. On the other hand, the interior is imagined in opposition to the exterior like a safe nest. From the statement “form follows function” we can strongly affirm “form follows need”. In fact, the inner space is generated from a fluid cut of the stereometric volume. It opens to a circular space around a pre-existent tree that becomes the focus of the new courtyard, surrounded by the seven classrooms, the library, the teacher’s office and the kitchen with the dining room. The aim is to enhance the exchange between students and teachers designing an inclusive space and creating a peaceful habitat using local and natural construction materials.
About the structure and the construction process (planned in two phases), we will achieve ease of construction and a maximum cost-effectiveness using local and cheap materials like Super Adobe (for the exterior walls) and bamboo sticks (for the inner structure and panels) and adopting intuitive and traditional construction techniques. Thanks to its introspective attitude, the project creates a safe educational environment in which every young person’s potential can be fulfilled. At the same time, its iconic appearance reaches the objective to become a polarity for the area.