Now open for entries in its fifth year, Architizer’s A+Awards — the largest awards program for architecture and products — is all about inspiring buildings. Crucially, though, it also serves to highlight all the hardworking people and the collaborative spirit that help make those structures a reality — often within the most challenging of contexts.
One of the most powerful examples of this comes in the shape of 14+ Foundation, a nonprofit organization whose dedication to increasing access to education in rural African communities netted it the Impact Award at the 2015 A+Awards.
Now, Architizer is delighted to report that the foundation is making progress on its second key project, a school in Mwabwindo, Zambia, designed by Selldorf Architects. Construction has begun in the remote area of the Central African Plateau, and 14+ Foundation is celebrating this and other initiatives at its annual cocktail benefit at 199 Bowery in New York City this coming Thursday, October 6.
The school will serve primary students whose travel distance to existing teaching facilities has made it difficult for them to gain a quality education on a continuous basis. The building has been designed with context in mind: The structure will be highly responsive to its environment, and built with a savvy combination of vernacular materials and smart construction techniques.
“The building’s design is inspired by the tall, singular trees on the surrounding savanna that serve as gathering spaces shaded from the sun of the Central African Plateau,” say the architects. “A large, corrugated metal roof canopy will cover a village of mud-brick classrooms arranged around courtyards and an internal street. In addition to the school for 175 students, the program includes a building that will provide housing for eight teachers, a community vegetable garden and playing fields.”
Rendering of the school interior …
… and construction of the steel frame on site
As illustrated by the latest construction photographs, the steel structure is being erected first before a corrugated roof is applied. Construction of the rest of the school can then continue during Zambia’s three-month rainy season.
The classrooms will be built using handmade, locally fired bricks and constructed by local masons, thereby providing employment and training opportunities for the area. The project is also designed to be highly sustainable, with a rainwater collection system being installed to help water community gardens, and solar panels providing energy for the school and teacher’s housing.
Proceeds from 14+ Foundation’s upcoming gala will go to support the continuing construction of the school, set to open in January 2018, and will also support the ongoing operations of the recently expanded Chipakata Children’s Academy. Donations will also help continue the foundation’s other community-based projects and programs in the coming year.
For more information about the event and to register, please visit www.14plusfoundation.org.