Nakamtenga Village School

Once the decision to extend the village school of Nakamtenga in Burkina Faso had been made, Yennenga Progress directly contacted Kjellander Sjöberg. The task was to design a new building which, in harmony with the existing preschool and elementary school, could accommodate multiple classrooms on the smallest footprint possible; something the entire region desperately needed.

Sustainable and local building material

The point of departure for the project was employing a local construction method using a soil type laterite, excavated, formed by hand into blocks and dried. Upon exposure to air, it hardens and becomes a brick-like rigid material. By using a locally produced and sustainable material that can be recycled, a low construction cost was achieved.

Robust and modular

The robust structural concept is based on a concrete frame, modular in all three dimensions, which can be extended, stacked and repeated as needed. It provides the opportunity to create spaces for diverse functions as well as supporting a pleasant microclimate. Horizontal blind slats protect against the western sun while the morning sun is blocked by the entrance balcony running along the eastern façade. The southern and western facades are closed, making space for outdoor stairs supported by the structural frame.

A concept with far-reaching benefits

The original assignment by Yennenga Progress has been expanded to also include drawings and building instructions for other complementary public buildings. The designed typologies can be easily replicated using the documentation and thus benefit more villages. They use the same construction principle of concrete and laterite, with additional parts made at a local forge. Such method provides new jobs and creates a better local environment in accordance to the UN’s 2030 Agenda, sustainable development goal number 6 – ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all. The project has been carried out pro bono.

Project for a vibrant local community

The school extension, providing required number of places for students coming even from surrounding villages, has created much-needed jobs for resident construction workers and craftsmen and thus contributed to a positive development of the local economy.

Awarded the Facilitator of the Year

Kjellander Sjöberg together with Yennenga Progress have been awarded the “Facilitator of the Year” prize at the Architecture Gala 2017 for making a significant contribution to society where architecture was a tool for change.