Village School Design

Nina Maritz Architects (Namibia) have been tasked to design five environmentally sustainable, low maintenance schools and accommodation structures, using local materials and labour, reflecting Ju/’hoan culture.

A full consultation was facilitated by the architect to:

  • Ensure the schools represent the aspirations and visions of the Ju/’hoan community, culturally and educationally
  • Enable the expression of the rich Ju/’hoan cultural heritage
  • Engendered an ownership by the school community, from planning through construction and management of the schools.

Dormitory and class room with roof structure

The five village schools will be erected on diverse sites, each with different existing infrastructure or no infrastructure, and site characteristics ranging from fairly dense woodland to open savannah. Some sites have rudimentary classrooms, others have nothing. Standardisation of buildings over the entire project will not work given different site characteristics. It is therefore proposed that different components of the building complex are designed as standard modules, which can be arranged together in different ways to suit the sites. These modules will consist of the classrooms, dormitory, the children’s toilets, the kitchen - stores, the staff house and toilet.

The largest and most prominent modules, the classroom and dormitory, were designed in the same shell – a kind of wedge shaped unit – with one side wall offset at 22.5-degree angle to the other. This allows multiple units to be connected to form various arrangements, like a circle or a wave element. Depending on the number of units required and existing site features such as buildings and trees, the units form open use spaces for play and gatherings. 

Potential Site Layout

The largest and most prominent modules, the classroom and dormitory, were designed in the same shell – a kind of wedge shaped unit – with one side wall offset at 22.5-degree angle to the other. This allows multiple units to be connected to form various arrangements, like a circle or a wave element. Depending on the number of units required and existing site features such as buildings and trees, the units form open use spaces for play and gatherings.

All Modules and side view of classroom

Project proposal

The project proposal provides more information on the San, the region, the current education system, the design and built of the schools, community involvement, staffing, transport and food programmes, management of the project and the detailed budget. Click here to read the project proposal in PDF (37 pages).