The Zubabox (Nyanja for “Sun Box”) was handed over by Squire and Partners to local youth foundation Tiempo de Juego in May 2016, which works to creative positive change for young people in Cazuca, near Bogota. The project aims to provide a safe, sustainable environment where children can develop social and digital skills, and a friendly community as an alternative to the prevalent culture of gangs and crime.
Squire and Partners was approached by Computer Aid International to design a prototype Solar Learning Lab as a series of mobile units providing internet connectivity to remote communities without electricity. The basic unit, currently used in ten locations across Africa, is constructed from a recycled shipping container with solar panels on the roof, and utilises donated refurbished computers. The practice was asked to design a more cost efficient, practical and enjoyable environment for the users.
Squire and Partners’ design presented a simple modular system which can operate individually or as part of a group. Maximising the possible amount of openings increases cross-ventilation and natural light, and creates a shaded deck which expands the usable area and facilitates integration with the community. A larger roof size additionally allows for an increased number of solar panels.
Internally, a skin of plywood softens the working space and can be personalised by the users. Computer stations are modular and easily stored away.
The Zubabox in Cazuca, Bogota, and the different educational programs developed in the space are fully sponsored by Dell computers as part of the Dell Legacy of Good. The container was locally converted and fitted-out in Colombia by Colombian container conversion company Allplast. The practice also worked with local furniture makers Saint George to produce bespoke timber furniture and Cazuca-based graffiti artists – Delix and Zhed1 – were commissioned to adorn the box with a community-based artwork. Squire and Partners spent the day before the launch planting native flowers to create a vibrant landscaped area around the site.
Project team: Design: Squire and Partners Computer Partner: Dell Legacy of Good Charity Partner: Computer Aid Charity Recipient: Tiempo del Juego Lighting: Atrium Services: Hoare Lea Structure: AKTII Container conversion: All Plast Location furniture fabricator: Saint George Graffiti artists: Delix, Zhed 1