Feb 082013
Designed for a flood-prone area of Nigeria, this school would keep students in school even after the heaviest rains.

Makoko is a water-logged settlement in Lagos, home to about 250,000 people living mostly in makeshift structures on stilts. The main mode of transport is canoe, and the area is at constant risk of flooding, according to Kunlé Adeyemi, a Nigerian-born architect who now lives in Holland.

Some city officials want to tear the area down, saying it is unfit for habitation (or because real estate would be more valuable with upscale homes). But Adeyemi wants to keep building–just a little differently. Instead of stilts, he sees floating structures, with better access to power and fresh water, and more sustainable means of waste disposal.

His first project–what he calls a “seed to cultivate a new type of urbanism on water in African cities”–is a floating school. The three-story structure is 108 square-feet at its base, and 33 feet high. It sits on a floatation deck made of 256 used plastic drums. And the body is all wood, which is sourced locally. The idea is keep things relatively cheap: Adeyemi estimates it will cost about $6,250.

The building is designed for about 100 students (aged 4 to 12), and has its own power system based around solar panels on the roof. There is rainwater harvesting capacity, and the school has its own toilet–something unusual for the area.

“Makoko is a settlement that people often drive-by. I’ve driven by it myself for many years,” Adeyemi says. “But I started to visit and I was inspired, shocked and motivated by the environment. I asked if there was anything I could do, and they said the school was always flooding, and they needed an extension. So, that’s what we did.”

Adeyemi describes the structure, which is nearly finished, as “very stable”. And he says the children see nothing strange in taking a boat to class. “It has been exciting for them since we built the first platform. They love it, and are always around it.”

Read more . . .

via FastCoExist – BEN SCHILLER

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