By the Soungrougrou river

The high school is located in Marsassoum, a village by the Soungrougou river in Haute Casamance, Senegal. We envision a lively environment that offers more than a place to learn, but also acts as a place where students can connect and support each other. Our desire is to create a structure that can breathe. The classrooms, along with an organic covered ring, revolve around a central courtyard, a well of natural light all through the day. This central open space is the heart of the school, where students can meet during the day, under the generous shade of a Moraceae tree. Thanks to the vertical folding screens made of woven “seko” bamboos, the space can accommodate four large classrooms when needed, or it can be opened into one generous communal ring. It becomes a meeting place where students can form small groups around a table and have their own physical space to read, reflect, and convene.

This school is thought for the community. We seek to preserve local craftsmanship and we leverage local materials as the most direct way to respond to the climate and present needs. For in it lies all its spirit and resourcefulness, from which we can develop both vernacular and new techniques which the locals could easily repeat. Porous elements such as the palm roof and the woven screens below the high ceiling let the light and air through the classrooms. The earth walls made of “banco” adobe bricks regulate the temperatures. The school’s autonomy is supported by a system of collection and distribution of rainwater. From the core of the school around the central tree, this is a place where knowledge is transmitted in circles. Made of earth, fiber, water and light, we envision an organic space that supports its students and community in self-learning.

This proposal for a competition is a collaboration with Giacomo Monari and Antoine Gouachon.


(4-6) Model 1:33

© Elsa Molinard, 2020